The best stopover deals worldwide

A number of airlines and airports offer free tours and free lodging for those transiting through the airport on their way to somewhere else.  This can be a great way to turn an otherwise painfully long layover into a mini vacation of its own.

We’ve scoured the web for the best deals, but we may have missed some.  If you know of any great stopover deals that we missed, please comment below!

Istanbul: Turkish Airline’s Free Tour or Lodging

Touristanbul (free tour)

Turkish Airlines offers free transit tours which include free meals. Details here.

  • Options include:
    • 8am – 11:30am
    • 8:30am – 3pm (includes lunch)
    • 8:30am – 6pm (includes lunch)
    • Noon – 6pm (includes lunch)
    • 4pm – 9:30pm (includes dinner)
    • 6pm – 11pm (dinner & cruise)
  • Requirements:  All international transfer passengers who have flight through İstanbul can attend Touristanbul. Both flights should be with Turkish Airlines’ ticket (codeshared or operated). Connection times between flights should not be longer than 24 hours and shorter than 6 hours.  Passengers may not get both accommodation service and Touristanbul on the same journey.
  • Details can be found here.

Stopover in Istanbul (free hotel)

If your stopover is 20 hours or longer, you can opt for a free hotel night (or two if flying business class). Details here.

  • Options include:
    • 1-night stay in a 4-Star hotel for Economy Class
    • 2 nights stay in a 5-Star hotel for the Business Class
  • Requirements:  Valid for stopovers of 20 hours or more.  Flights must be operated by Turkish Airlines.  Passengers cannot do both the free hotel and free tour.  See website for list of valid routes that permit the stopover program.
  • Details can be found here.

Tokyo Narita Airport Transit Program (free tour)

The Tokyo Narita airport offers free tours by English speaking volunteers.  Details here.

  • Options include: Narita-san Shinsho-ji Temple, Shibayama Town, Tako Town (walk or cycle), Cosplay in Sakae Town, Sawara Riverside District, and numerous self-guided tours.
  • Requirements:  The only requirement seems to be that you must be able to get to the Narita airport and you can’t be a Japanese citizen.  The tour page terms state: All tours are intended to guide non-Japanese travelers who are changing planes at Narita Airport (either domestic or international flights) or who are staying in the Narita area.
  • Details can be found here.

Seoul Incheon Airport Transit Tour

The Seoul Incheon airport offers free stopover tours for anyone transiting through South Korean from and to different countries.  Tours can be booked online, but they reserve half the space for walk-up travelers, so it’s worth a shot even if the tour you want appears to be sold out online.  Details here.

  • Options include: Multiple tours are available ranging in length from 1, 2, 4, and 5 hours long.
  • Requirements:  Passenger must have connecting international flights within 24 hours.
  • Details can be found here.

Taiwan Free Half Day Tour

Taiwan’s international airport offers a free half day tour for passengers with a 7 to 24 hour connection. Details here.

  • Options include: Morning tour (8:30 AM) or afternoon tour (2:15 PM)
    • Morning tour visits the Qingshui Zushi Temple, Sanxia Old Street, and Yingge Ceramics Old Street.
    • Afternoon tour passes lots of sights by bus and has stops at Ximending and Taipei City.
  • Requirements:  Passenger must have a connecting flights with a layover between 7 and 24 hours.
  • Details can be found here.

Air China Free Lodging: Beijing, Chengdu, Dalian, Hangzhou, Shanghai

Air China offers free lodging, breakfast, and airport transfers to those passing through Beijing, Chengdu, Dalian, Hangzhou, or Shanghai.

  • Options include: None? I’m not sure, but it looks like the hotel may be assigned to you.
  • Requirements:  Must book Air China tickets transiting through Beijing, Chengdu, Dalian, Hangzhou, or Shanghai.
  • Details can be found here.  It’s unclear if you can add a free transfer after booking or if it has to be done as part of the booking process.

Singapore Tour or Lodging

Singapore Layover Tours

Free 3 hour tours are available to anyone transiting through Singapore. Details here.

  • Options include
    • Heritage Tour: 9am-11:30am; 10am-12:30; 12:30am-3pm; 2:30pm-5pm; 4pm-6:30pm
    • City Sights Tour: 6pm-8:30pm; 7:30pm-10pm
  • Requirements: You are a transiting passenger of Changi Airport and your layover period is at least 5.5 hours but less than 24 hours, and your onward flight is scheduled at least 2 hours after the end of the tour.
  • Details can be found here.

Singapore Airport Stopover Holiday (cheap hotel)

Singapore Airlines advertised their stopover hotel deal as starting at s$41 (about $31 USD), but this is the per-person rate.  To get that deal, you have to book two people in one room, so the cost is really closer to $62 for two.  Details can be found here.

  • Options include:
    • 1 night hotel with $10 SIM card: Starting at S$41 per person ($31 USD per person)
    • 1 night hotel and free attractions: Starting at S$63 per person ($47 USD per person). This option does not include transportation to the attractions.
    • 2 nights hotel plus free attractions plus Universal Studios: Starting at S$221 per person ($163 USD per person)
  • Requirements: Available for passengers ticketed on flights operated by Singapore Airlines (SQ), SilkAir (MI), and approved code share flights on Scoot (TR) and Air NewZealand (NZ).  Packages are available if you’re stopping over in Singapore, on the way to your destination (for instance, Sydney – Singapore – London and vice versa). The stopover holiday package is valid for the duration of your Singapore Stopover only. Transport to and from the attractions is not included.
  • Details can be found here.

Thai Airways Bangkok Stopover (free hotel or tour when transiting from Australia)

If you’re planning to travel round-trip from Australia through Bangkok and onward, and you’re planning to travel soon (by the end of September 2019) then you can get a free hotel night or free tour! Details here.

  • Options include
    • Hotel stay:
      • Well Hotel Bangkok
      • ibis Styles Bangkok Khaosan Viengtai
      • Shanghai Mansion Bangkok
    • Tour: “Taste of the “City Tour” tour with return transfers to and from the airport. On this tour you’ll enjoy Visit Wat Traimit Temple located near Chinatown and stand just a few metres away from a statue of Lord Buddha made of solid gold, visit Chinatown, the flowers market and take in the sights of the various Government offices. The tour duration is 6 hrs with pick up at Suvarnabhumi Bangkok International Airport between 08:00 and 10:00 in the morning.”
  • Requirements: Must book round-trip travel on Thai Airways originating in Australia. Stopover must be complete by September 30 2019.  See the website for eligible final destinations.
  • Details can be found here.

Colombo SriLankan Airlines Free Hotel

SriLankan Airlines offers free lodging to those transiting Colombo, but tickets must cost at least $350 one-way or $700 round trip. Details here.

  • Options include: None. Hotel is assigned by SriLankan Airlines.
  • Requirements: Fare must be at least $350 one-way or $700 round trip.  Passengers should arrive in a SriLankan Airlines’ flight and transit in Colombo for over 8 hours and up to 24 hours, and also should connect to another SriLankan airlines flight.  Passengers should hold a SriLankan airlines through ticket under a single booking reference to be eligible.
  • Details can be found here.
  • Note: A reader reports being offered a mediocre Ramada hotel for her layover. She turned it down.

Ethiopian Addis Ababa Transit Service (free hotel)

Free hotel, meals, and transfers. Details here.

  • Options include: None. Hotel is assigned to you.  Meals at the hotel are included.
  • Requirements: Ethiopian Airlines passengers with connecting flight between 8 and 24 hours. You are not eligible if a shorter transit was available.
  • Details can be found here.

Qatar’s Doha Tours and Lodging

Doha Transit Tours

These tours are not free, but they are cheap.  Tours start at 75 QAR (about $20).  Details here.

  • Options include: Many tours to choose from. Tours start at 8am, 10:30am, 3pm, 6pm, 8pm, and 9:30pm
  • Requirements:  Must be flying Qatar and transiting through Doha.  Departure time must be at least 2 hours after the end time of the selected tour.
  • Details can be found here.

Doha Stopover (hotel)

Doha hotels aren’t free, but they are cheap when flying Qatar. Details here.

  • Options include: 4 star hotels start at $23 for one night. 5 star hotels start at $28 for one night.  You can book longer stays, but at slightly higher rates.
  • Requirements: Passengers flying on Qatar Airways through Doha with a valid pre-approved free transit visa (bookable online at qatarairways.com and valid for up to 96 hours) or nationals who are eligible for a visa on arrival or free visa can enjoy up to a four nights stay in a four-star or a five-star hotel at a nominal booking fee, starting from USD 23 / QAR 84.
  • Details can be found here.

Emirates Dubai Connect (free hotel & meals)

Free hotel, meals, and airport transfers for transits of more than eight hours (or 6 hours for business class) and less than 24 hours, but only if a shorter transit flight is not available. Details here.

  • Options include: None. Hotel is assigned by the airline. “The accommodation provided will be in the Copthorne Hotel Dubai, the Le Méridien Airport Hotel Dubai, the Arabian Park Hotel Dubai or another alternative at the discretion of Emirates. We do not make any guarantee as to the accommodation allocated to you in any manner (e.g. facilities, hotel, location, star rating).”
  • Requirements: Must book Emirates flight connecting in Dubai for 8 to 24 hours (or 6 to 24 hours for business class). You are not eligible if a shorter transit was available.
  • Details can be found here.

Etihad Stopover in Abu Dhabi (free hotel)

  • Options include:
  • Requirements:
  • Details can be found here.

Oman Air Free Night in Muscat

Free hotel night with breakfast for those flying Oman Air from Europe to the Far East (or vice versa). Details here.

Air Serbia Belgrade Free Hotel

This service is intended for passengers traveling to and from JFK International Airport and transiting through Belgrade with a connection time between 8 and 24 hours. Details here.

  • Options include: None
  • Requirements: Must fly Air Servia to or from JFK with a connection in Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla Airport.  Connection time must be at least 8 hours and less than 24 hours.  Valid origins or destinations to/from JFK include: Beirut, Atina, Thessaloniki, Larnaca, Sarajevo, Skopje, Banja Luka, Sofia, Bucharest, Tirana, Ljubljana, Zagreb, Split, Tivat, Podgorica, Prague, Tel Aviv, Venice, Dubrovnik, Rijeka, Zadar, Pula, St. Petersburg, Kyiv, Krasnodar, Cairo.  Passengers have to contact the Air Serbia call center, or make an inquiry through a travel agent at least 5 days before travel.
  • Details can be found here.

Air Astana Kazakhstan Stopover Holidays (hotels from $1)

Pay $1 for hotel, meals, and airport transfers when you have a stopover of at least 10 hours. Details here.

Air Canada Stopover: Free or Cheap Hotel in Montréal, Toronto or Vancouver

Air Canada passengers with stopovers of 6 hours or more in Montréal, Toronto or Vancouver are eligible. Latitude, Premium Economy, and Business class passengers may choose a free hotel night. Prices for economy passengers start at $49.  Details here.

  • Options include: It appears that hotels are available at a range of prices starting at $0 for premium class passengers, and $49 for economy passengers.
  • Requirements: Book hotel at least 96 hours before traveling. Fly Air Canada with a 6 hour or longer connection through Montréal, Toronto or Vancouver.  Must be at least 21 years old.
  • Details can be found here.

Other notable offers

  • China Eastern / Shanghai: Free night or two in Shanghai. Tickets must be purchased in UK/Ireland. Details here.
  • China Southern / Guangzhou: Free night in Guangzhou. Details here.
  • Xiamen Airlines: Free night in Xiamen for transits between 6 and 24 hours. Fare classes G, Z, X, and O are not qualified. Details here.
  • Hainan Airlines: Free night in Beijing, Xi’an, Haikou, Guangzhou, Lanzhou, Dalian, Hangzhou, Shanghai Pudong, Chongqing, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Tianjin or Changsha.  If I’m reading this correctly, individuals flying economy may be stuck in the same room with another passenger of the same gender.  Details here.
  • Royal Jordanian / Amman: They may give you a free night. “As a special courtesy to our passengers, in certain cases where an itinerary calls for a longer stopover in Amman, Royal Jordanian airlines may provide hotel accommodation, meals and ground transportation for passengers facing extended transit times in Amman…” Details here.

Dead deals

The following stopover deals appear to be gone at the time of writing. Please let us know if any are incorrect.

  • Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints used to offer free transportation and a free tour of the Temple Square area of downtown Salt Lake City.   It appears that free tours are still available but they do not include transportation to/from the airport.
  • Iceland Air Stopover Buddy: Iceland Air once offered a free service where they matched you with a local “buddy” with similar interests who would then help you make the most of your Iceland stopover.  Details here.
  • KLM Layover with a Local in Amsterdam: For those with layovers of 6 hours or more, KLM offered free transportation to the city and free first round of drinks for you and the local volunteer who would show you around.  One Mile at a Time offered details here.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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[…] post The best stopover deals worldwide appeared first on Frequent […]

HChris
Guest
HChris

Love it! Very detailed and a good overview for everyone. Does there exist a similar post either on Frequent Miler or somewhere else that has a detailed overview of which airlines offer what kind of deals on award tickets? For example Free Stopovers even on one-ways when using Alaska or what Nick mentioned in his post that Turkish allows a stopover when spending minimum of 60K in Eco/90K in Biz.

Neil
Guest
Neil

Excellent resource – thanks!

Liz
Guest
Liz

The stopover hotel we were offered in Colombo was the airport Ramada (we were flying J from HKG to MLE in case that matters). Since it was a short overnight layover we just stayed at the airside transit hotel instead as the Ramada looked like a pretty mediocre hotel. The airside transit hotel also wasn’t nice but the convenience won out. So, if you love free, definitely good, but otherwise, meh.

chatoor
Guest
chatoor

am assuming this won’t work for award bookings?

PM1
Guest
PM1

I took the free Narita tour last month. It was amazing!!! I was paired with a sprightly octogenarian who was an amazing tour guide and tailored the tour to my interests. Lot’s of interesting sights around Narita. Can’t believe it was completely free with no catches!

Peter
Guest
Peter

Kenya airways is worth mentioning. The airline offers free lodging and even a free safari during a stopover.
https://www.cntraveler.com/story/kenya-airways-will-give-you-a-free-safari-seriously

Ram
Guest
Ram

This is only for travellers to/from London flights

Phil
Guest
Phil

Thank you Greg! Fantastic content like this makes Frequent Miler the best travel/ points blog!

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[…] reference post on all the best stopover deals worldwide. I could ask a lame blogger questions like “what’s your favorite?”. But I am just […]

Sam
Guest
Sam

I believe both TAP Portugal and Royal Air Maroc offer stopovers in their hubs for long haul flights.

Andy Shuman
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Andy Shuman

Absolutely fantastic report Greg! Didn’t know about most of these options!

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[…] reference put up on all of the best stopover deals worldwide. I might ask a lame blogger questions like “what’s your favourite?”. However I’m simply […]

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[…] The best stopover deals worldwide […]

Crazy Dog Lady
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Crazy Dog Lady

I had no idea stopover tours or hotels even existed. Great article, thanks!

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[…] researching my post “The best stopover deals worldwide,” I came across a very interesting deal.  According to a couple of articles, Kenya Airways […]

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[…] Free hotels and tours are available at many airports worldwide. […]

Kristi
Guest
Kristi

Fiji Airways offers a free two night stay with a stopover when traveling between the US and Australia or New Zealand. https://www.fijiairways.com/en-us/flights-two-night-free-fiji-stopover

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

TAP has a really good stopover program. You can stay in either Lisbon or Porto. They don’t seem to have “specials” as those you note but for North Americans on their way to Rome or other European places, you can stay several days and then proceed at no extra cost.