Posted 9 May 2024

2024 Airline stopover programs + free or discounted hotel stays / experiences

This is the updated Airline stopover thread, had pulled together something similar previously. A number of airlines offer free stopover programs giving you the ability to explore another destination for no additional cost as part of your flight ticket in 2024. Some airlines even offer free or heavily discounted hotel / experience deals in the stopover destination e.g. Etihad, Qatar, Turkish Airlines etc. This post discussion gives a high level overview of some of the current deals and policies.

What is a stopover?

A stopover is defined as a connection or stop that lasts for 24 hours or more for international travel and four hours or more for domestic travel (shorter connections are layovers). You can use the downtime between transit to explore, with some airlines offering stopover packages including free or heavily discounted hotel stays and experiences e.g. Etihad, Qatar etc

Do I need a Visa for a stopover?

It is worth checking if you need a Visa for any planned stopovers. Sometimes you need to ask for temporary visas in certain countries that might be different from your destination visa. Most countries issue transit visas to help passengers who will only be transiting in that specific country. More info here

1. Turkish AIrlines stopover deals

During your trip with Turkish Airlines, you can stopover in Istanbul and enjoy free accommodation and the opportunity to explore the city.

  • Economy-class passengers will stay at a four-star hotel for one day — for free. Your stopover must be longer than 20 hours to qualify for a free hotel room.
  • Business-class passengers with a stopover of 20 hours or more will stay in a five-star hotel in Turkey for up to two days.
  • If your stopover is between six and 24 hours, you can explore Istanbul with a free city tour including bus transportation and meals. You don’t need to reserve ahead of time. Just head to the Touristanbul desk upon arrival at Istanbul Airport (IST) to register. More info here


  • Stopover in Istanbul is only available for passengers connecting from Istanbul Airport (IST); departure and return flights must be via Istanbul.
  • Stopover in Istanbul provides free accommodation for our passengers. The service may only be used once during the journey.
  • Stopover Accommodation Service is available for round-trip tickets and passengers' outbound and inbound flights need to be on the same ticket. Free accommodation can be used on the outbound or inbound journey and one time only.
  • Stopover in Istanbul is only available for flights operated by Turkish Airlines.
  • Passengers can take advantage of free accommodation using their ticket number only if issued by Turkish Airlines stock number starting 235.
  • To benefit from Stopover in Istanbul, there must be at least 20 hours of transit time between the two flights.
  • In order for the Stopover in Istanbul right to be valid, the trip must start and end in the same country.
  • To take advantage of this service, passengers must apply at least 72 hours before the first flight via the e-mail address of the country of departure from which the journey began taking into consideration office working days/hours, or book with their PNR and surname information via the booker on this page.
  • Within the scope of this service, Economy Class passengers can stay 1 night free of charge in a 4-star hotel and Business Class passengers can stay 2 nights free of charge in a 5-star hotel.
  • The hotel options provided are subject to the availability of Turkish Airlines contracted hotels.
  • Visa fees, travel costs around the city, and travel costs between the airport and hotel are borne by the passenger.
  • Stopover Accommodation Service is not offered to passengers connecting to domestic flights in Türkiye.
  • Economy Class passengers starting their journey from the United States can benefit from our Stopover service for 2 nights; Business Class passengers can benefit from our Stopover service for 3 nights.
  • Stopover accommodation is offered to passengers arriving from the USA to all international destinations via an İstanbul airport transfer. Stopover accommodation service is not offered to passengers with domestic flight connections in Türkiye.
  • To take advantage of this service, all flights must be made to the destinations listed in the departure & destinations table above.
  • All departure and arrival points of the flight are taken into account in order to benefit from this service. For example: On a trip itinerary of Kazan - Istanbul - Munich / Chisinau - Istanbul - Kazan, passengers cannot benefit from free accommodation between the Kazan - Munich route because Chisinau is not included in the table of departures & destinations above.
  • Provided that Pakistan Stopover rules apply: Passengers traveling on codeshare flights with Pakistan International Airlines can benefit from our Stopover service.
  • Provided that the United States Stopover rules apply: Passengers traveling to/from the United States of America on our codeshare flights with Indigo Airlines can benefit from our Stopover service.
  • Free accommodation is not available (N and R classes) for free tickets.
  • Turkish Airlines awards (Miles) ticket available.
  • All expenses other than accommodation are the responsibility of the passenger.
  • Passengers without a hotel voucher are not eligible for free accommodation.
  • Please note that the hotel voucher and boarding pass must be presented to the hotel upon check-in.
  • The hotel voucher cannot be changed after it has been issued by the system.
  • After receiving the hotel voucher for extra accommodation, you can contact the hotel directly and benefit from Turkish Airlines' special rates.
  • Passengers who use Stopover in Istanbul cannot benefit from t

2. Emirates stopover deals


Emirates offers a Dubai (UAE) stopover programme. To take advantage of the airline’s Dubai stopover program use the advanced search feature on the airline’s website and ensure you have built a stopover into your itinerary. You can do this by building a multicity itinerary with a stop in Dubai

Please note there are no offers on free or discounted hotel travel as part of the stopover deal, so this cost would need to be factored in.

3. Etihad Airways stopover deals


Etihad is currently offering free stopovers in Abu Dhabi through 24 December 2024 The one- or two-night packages include free stays at either a three-star or four-star hotel in the city.

Stop over in Abu Dhabi for free at selected 3* and 4* hotels in Abu Dhabi.

  • Stay for up to two nights
  • 24-hour check-in
  • Complimentary in-room Wi-Fi

Check the terms on the page

4. Finnair stopover deals

Finnair offers free stopovers in Helsinki when you travel through Helsinki airport (HEL). You can stop for up to 5 nights on your way to your final destination. You can also stop on your way home.

Please note there are no offers on free or discounted hotel travel as part of the stopover deal, so this cost would need to be factored in.

5. Iberia Stopover deals

If you fly with Iberia you can do a Madrid stopover. Stay from one to six nights in the capital of Spain with no additional cost to your ticket. With Stopover Hola Madrid you get discounts on accommodation, transport, shopping, leisure and cultural activities. You also get a free public transportation card valid for two days that can be picked up at the airport.

6. .Icelandair Stopover deals

When you fly transatlantic with Icelandair, you can choose to add a 1 to 7 day stopover in Reykjavik Iceland at no additional cost when you book with IcelandAir. When booking your flights, simply click the “Stopover in Iceland” button and choose how many days you'd like to stay.

Please note there are no offers on free or discounted hotel travel as part of the stopover deal, so this cost would need to be factored in.

7. Japan airlines Stopover deals


Japan Airlines allows passengers to schedule a free stopover in Tokyo or Osaka, Japan. This is not a formal stopover program. To make a stopover, simply use the multi-city booking page or call the airline. You can stop in Tokyo (NRT or HND) or Osaka (KIX) at no additional cost.

Please note there are no offers on free or discounted hotel travel as part of the stopover deal, so this cost would need to be factored in.

8. Qatar Airways Stopover deals

Make the most of your journey with these packages by Discover Qatar, including up to four nights discounted hotel in Doha, as well as discounted tours. Pricing is from £11 per person based on double room share for 1 night based on a 4* hotel.

How to book a Stopover?

1. Choose "Qatar Stopover" in the flight search panel above and enter your origin and destination

Do not enter Doha or Qatar in the origin or destination fields.

2. Select your stopover timing and duration

Select your preference for planning your stopover, either on the departing or returning flight journey, and how many days you would like to stopover in Qatar.

3. Select your flight and stopover package

For flights departing from the following countries, you can book your flights and hotel packages together.

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, the United Kingdom and Vietnam. For flights departing all other countries, you can book your flight first, then visit Discover Qatarto book your hotel and selection of Tours and Services.


  • Price is $14 per person based on double room share for 1 night.
  • Prices on this page are in USD.
  • The price of a stopover varies based on the hotel star-rating and the duration.
  • Prices listed are per person based on double room share.
  • Additional fees apply if breakfast is included.
  • The Stopover offer is only valid for Qatar Airways confirmed ticket holders with a minimum transit time of 12 hours in Doha.
  • All Stopover bookings are subject to availability.
  • A valid visa is required to enter the country. Find visa information here.
  • A hotel booking made with Discover Qatar is mandatory for visitors from certain countries. Find more information here.
  • Not all flight bookings are eligible for stopover packages.

9. Oman Air Stopover deals

Oman Air offers free stopovers in Muscat International Airport (MCT). You can book a stopover for 1-3 nights. There are a number of stopover packages to choose from. Most packages include discounted hotel rooms and free breakfast. You can choose from 3, 4, and 5 star hotels. There are also tours available.

If you have a long layover of 8 hours or more, you can take a full-day Muscat city tour. The tour is offered at a discounted rate. This tour also includes airport lounge access.

Terms accommodation

  • Passenger may book 1 night, 2 nights or 3 nights stopover in Oman.
  • Room rate includes:
  • Daily buffet breakfast
  • Hotel taxes and service charges
  • VAT
  • All prices mentioned in the price list are subject to change without prior notice
  • Stay must be with consecutive nights without division.
  • Rooms are subject to availability at time of booking.

10. Tap Air Portugal stopover deals

With Portugal Stopover, you can add a free stopover in Lisbon or Porto from 1 to 10 days for no additional cost (although no discounted hotel travel). You can opt for this stopover on an outbound or returning trip. There are also discounted experiences

To book you need to choose your travel dates, departure city, and destination as usual, then click the “Add Stopover” button.


Related discussions / useful links

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  1. daved2006's avatar
    I would like to offer feedback on booking a stopover with Qatar. Firstly don't start with "booking a stopover" on the website, the search is confusing. Let me explain. Proceed to book flights as you normally would where you can see the length of any layover and subsequent prices. When you're happy with a price and length of layover then proceed to book. a stopover and search for that particular flight you found earlier. The reason is when booking a stopover you cannot immediately see a list of flights and prices until you go through the stopover process. Far easier to know which flight you want as above.
  2. jamespat77's avatar
    Just a warning about the Etihad programme, booked the 2 night stopover offer in March to fly in May when it was advertised as a FREE two night stopover, managed to finally find availability at hotels last month at the start of April but found they were now charging me, queried this with them and they told me the programme had been changed to the 'Amazing stopover' deal and I had to now pay the discounted rate instead getting it for free.

    Went back and forth arguing I rightfully booked it when it was advertised as free but they wouldn't budge and even got customer service to reply in an email where I asked if they thought it should be illegal to change the offer after I paid for it and they wrote back and said they agreed, however their terms and conditions state they are allowed to change the programme at anytime.

    Ended up having to pay the discounted rate for two nights for £138 and then to add injury to insult a week later they changed the programme again and it were now offering the two nights at the same hotel for £69.

    Once again I was told there is nothing they could do, I booked it on the previous programme and this was a new updated programme.

    Just a word of warning, when it goes right its a great programme and I was advised later that I should have booked the hotels immediately even though the site constantly crashed and had no availability, (edited)
    Xippi's avatar
    That's interesting and well worth bearing in mind. I guess we were lucky last time.
  3. Gollywood's avatar
    Seems as though it's the Turkish/Middle Eastern airlines that offer the best stopover incentives.
    Felix_1's avatar
    Rest of the airlines (European / Americans) dont have a big heart to extend hospitality. Their tentacles are always all out to squeeze every penny out of you where possible in the name of selection of seat, checked baggage, hand carries ( weight and size ) etc etc.  (edited)
  4. etcuk's avatar
    Air China do this in certain airports as well
  5. KenKorda's avatar
    Just to clarify, when you say “free” stopover, you mean that you won’t be charged what exactly?
    I see some airlines do offer free or discounted accommodation, but for those that don’t, what is the perk?
    If you were to book a flight to a country and then another separate flight onwards on different tickets, would the price be much more then? (Genuine question)
    Mentos's avatar
    Usually yes. But you’re correct that there is no perk in some of these cases, it’s just a very long layover, which is nothing new really.
  6. FieldofBeans's avatar
    Just to add that Saudi Airlines have stopped offering a free night stay altogether, called CS twice and got the same answer.
    Gollywood's avatar
    Thats why they're not on the list posted
  7. Leeds2000's avatar
    Can we also add Ethiopia 🇪🇹 Airlines? My connecting flight was the following morning. They took me to the hotel and bought me back to the airport the next day. And was free. (edited)
  8. innocent's avatar
    Nice revamp. Thanks ✈️
  9. mjoy's avatar
    I tried to do this with Turkish Airlines once, my flight met all the conditions but they simply didn't honour it when I went to the service desk. Book without expectation I guess. This was quite a few years ago now though
    Mentos's avatar
    Not surprised, they don’t seem to think normal rules apply to them.
  10. Hunkerdown's avatar
    Very useful information, I have just been on a Qatar flight and would have used this had I known.
  11. BidAde's avatar
    China Southern has some stopover benefits depending on the class of ticket.
    Certain classes will provide overnight hotel accommodation in Guangzhou.

    However more importantly the Chinese government will allow up to 144 hour layovers with a free visa waiver. There are specific rules to follow but not too onerous.…tml
    This is valuable as you can avoid the trouble/cost to get proper Chinese visa.

    I used this feature to spend 3 days recently en route to Hanoi.
    I managed to break my travel for 3 days all with the same airline ticket and no difference in ticket price compared to a few hours layover.
    The process was fairly painless and an onward booked flight was enough to gain through visa waiver.
    I paid for my own hotel but had a first trip to China very easily.
    There was definitely enough to do there for a few days.
    I believe this works in other cities like Shangai and Beijing.
  12. c58's avatar
    This list is a bit arbitrary I'm afraid Chanchi. Every airline offers stopovers if you pay a high enough fare / break up the trip correctly. This list should be exclusively dedicated to airlines who offer a stopover package, Qatar, Etihad etc as that's actually something of benefit. (edited)
  13. catchacold22's avatar
    Make sure your insurance covers this
    ummtrio's avatar
    And make sure that it's not with AXA. They're the worst insurance company ever
  14. pmaker's avatar
    Not good for threesome
  15. HelpMeHelpYouHelpMe's avatar
    Has anyone actually used this and found it worthwhile? I have looked into it a number of times now and always find it is cheaper to get flight tickets off skyscanner rather than pay a lot more which often more than covers the free hotels
    Nicolidus's avatar
    My wife and I flew with Qatar Airways recently to the Philippines. We lived in Qatar for 10 years and so it was great for us to stopover in the Hilton on the way back so we had time to meet some old friends. The flights with QA were no cheaper on any of the flight comparison sites - potentially could’ve saved by using a different airline, but the Middle Eastern major airlines IMO are the best. I won’t be flying that far in economy ever again, but having the stopover helped to break up the flights. I’m gonna start saving my Avios so I can upgrade to business next time! 
  16. Xippi's avatar
    Great idea if you have the time. We did a 2 night stopover, free hotel in Abu Dhabi with Etihad on a LHR > Bangkok and would recommend. We could probably have got a cheaper flight, but It was a great way to break the journey, see somewhere new and help with the jetlag - we'd certainly consider doing similar again. We went sightseeing as it was our first time in Abu Dhabi but next time would look for a nicer hotel and just chill. By the way, check your arrival terminal and location of the hotel as Abu Dhabi airport has essentially moved leaving the odd 'airport' hotel behind.
    suley786's avatar
    I did the same to Bangkok, we managed to get the traders hotel on the scheme and it was a nice beach hotel. Was certainly a nice break before heading to reality
  17. Bobby_Sidhu's avatar
    Tried this last year, with ETIHAD from Heathrow to Mumbi. Firstly you have to book your flights to confirm the availability of any hotels, once flights have been booked, all hotels are fully booked, so not a great offer, as you are limited with the dates of your stopover.

    We ended up booking hotels and stopping over for 3 days in AD, which was great.
    sach1636's avatar
    Planning same. Probably cover Dubai in 3 days there.
  18. ra11's avatar
    whilst not a stop over as such, Singapore offers free city tours if you're there for a decent amount of time (suggest anything 5hrs+). Free day visa too - and if tour not your thing, hang out in Jewel shopping mall (not in airport, but linked - again free visa to exit and go to / from).
    Xippi's avatar
    Is this Singapore airlines or Singapore generally. How to arrange if the latter? Note: UK citizens don't need a visa for stays of up to 90 days.
  19. skyarsenal100's avatar
    Add Kuwait airlines as well I stopped over 8 hours and I was given a hotel room in the airport along with a meal and shuttle service to and from the hotel
  20. sydney871's avatar
    Do you have to book your tickets through the airlines websites or can it be done through any third party website to qualify for free stopovers
    E.g if I choose to go via Doha can I then request a discounted hotel if booked through Expedia or whatever?
  21. EN1GMA's avatar
    anyone have any experiences of doing self transfers? what exactly does it involve?
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