These three airlines offer free hotel stays and stopover packages

Turn your flight connection into a holiday with these free and discounted stopover packages in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha.

If you’re flying from Australia to Europe, Africa or the Americas, it’s likely you’ll be stopping in Abu Dhabi, Dubai or Doha for your connecting flight. However, few people are aware that airlines such as Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways all now offer free or discounted stopover packages for their passengers. These stopover options are designed to encourage visitors to explore more of the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, and allow you to add an extra destination to your holiday at little or no cost to you. Here are three airlines that offer free hotel stays or discounted stopover packages.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi
Louvre Abu Dhabi © Adobe Stock

Abu Dhabi Stopover by Etihad Airways

Passengers on flights operated by Etihad Airways with connections in Abu Dhabi can now add an extra destination to their itinerary at no additional cost. The United Arab Emirates’ national airline has partnered with the Department of Culture and Tourism in Abu Dhabi to launch the Abu Dhabi Stopover program.

Abu Dhabi Stopover is a service exclusive to Etihad Airways’ guests and is designed to entice travellers to extend their stay into a holiday by providing free hotel stays. When booking flights directly with Etihad Airways, guests now have the option to add a stopover and select a complimentary hotel as part of the online booking process. Guests can choose a free stay for one or two nights in a range of premier hotels across the city. Abu Dhabi is a major connection point for travellers en route to Europe and the Americas from Australia, and the Abi Dhabi Stopover program aims to turn these transiting visitors into holidaying tourists. To sweeten the deal, Etihad Airways’ boarding pass also doubles up as the Abu Dhabi Pass, which offers discounts at many of the city’s leading attractions and dining experiences. 

Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental
Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental © Adobe Stock

Dubai Connect by Emirates

Emirates offers a similar stopover package service called Dubai Connect; however, it’s offered with a caveat: only on connecting flights with a wait between eight and 26 hours before your next flight and when an earlier connection isn’t available. Passengers whose connections meet the criteria receive complimentary hotel accommodation, transfers, applicable meals and a visa to enter the UAE. To enjoy the service, it must be booked online at least 24 hours before your incoming flight to Dubai. The service can be added to an existing booking through the ‘Manage’ website functionality. 

Plus, for a limited time only, Emirates is offering passengers a complimentary stay at a luxury five-star hotel in Dubai. 
First and Business Class passengers stopping over in Dubai for more than 24 hours will be treated to a complimentary two-night stay at the five-star luxury hotel JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai, while passengers travelling in Premium Economy and Economy can enjoy a complimentary one-night stay.This offer is available from 1 July 2024 to 21 July 2024, on travel dates between 4 July 2024 and 15 September 2024. The stopover offer is valid for all return tickets to or stopping over in Dubai for more than 24 hours, and available on bookings made on, the Emirates App, at the Emirates call centre and ticket offices or via participating travel agents, when made at least 96 hours prior to arrival in Dubai. Once tickets have been issued, passengers simply need to email with passenger details to confirm their stay at the JW Marriot Marquis Hotel Dubai.

Dubai city at night
Dubai © Adobe Stock

Discover Qatar by Qatar Airways 

Discover Qatar operate stopover packages of up to four nights in Doha for passengers flying Qatar Airways with a connection of 12 hours or more in Doha. To book a stopover, passengers simply choose ‘Qatar Stopover’ in the online booking platform, select their destination and duration, and then choose their preferred stopover package. Passengers departing from the countries below can book flights and hotel packages together, while those departing from other countries can add the stopover package via the Discover Qatar. Prices start from just US$14 per person for standard four-star hotel packages, from US$23 per person for five-star hotel packages, from US$30 per person for five-star beach hotels, and from US$81 per person for luxury hotels including breakfast. 

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.

Doha skyline at sunset
Doha © Adobe Stock

Read more:
An expat’s guide to visiting Abu Dhabi on a budget
14 awesome things to do in Abu Dhabi
Insider travel tips from Etihad flight attendants
12 things to do at Hamad International Airport

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