The cheapest flights often mean a connection. Long layovers can be a drag if you don’t have access to an airline lounge like The Pier or the Star Alliance First Class lounge. But you’re in luck because some airlines like Air Canada, Etihad, and Thai Airlines offer a free hotel during layovers. You can get up to two free nights when you fly on Etihad. Say goodbye to sleeping in the airport. Keep reading to learn which airlines give you a free hotel room for a night or two.
Buy a Ticket on These Airlines, Get a Free Hotel Room
You can get free airport lounge access from a credit card, having top-tier elite status with an airline, buying a First Class or Business Class ticket, or having a Priority Pass membership.
Not all airports have a lounge. Or your flight arrives after the lounge has closed. So what should you do?
Spending the night in the airport is not fun. Been there, done that. I need to finish that blog post.
Side note: I had a blast because I was traveling with a friend. But if you’re traveling solo (as I normally do), it would not have been fun.
Having somewhere to sleep for a few hours or just relax, eat, and take a shower can mean a world of difference. It did for me when I went to Sri Lanka. Even though I didn’t use the bed, being able to shower and get some food was a big win.
That’s why booking a flight with airlines who offer Stopover Paid by Carrier (STPC) hotels can save you money when you travel.
But not all airlines offer a free hotel on long layovers. Here’s the ultimate guide on which airlines give you a free hotel when you book a flight.
1. Air Canada
Air Canada offers a free hotel night when your connection is over 6 hours through The Air Canada Stopover program when:
- Your flight is to a destination outside the US and Canada and connects through Montreal, Toronto, or Vancouver
- Tickets are booked on the AirCanada website
- Purchased 96 hours prior to departure
- You book a Business Class, Premium Economy or Latitude ticket
If you book a Flex or Tango ticket, you can get a discounted hotel for $49.
You can book your stopover hotel from a list of participating hotels using Air Canada’s Hotel Stopover Access website.
Note: Like Las Vegas, you have to be 21 years or older to check-in at most Canadian hotels.
Pro-tip: You can get a free hotel on both the outbound and return flight.
Pro-tip: If your connection is under six hours and the change fees are not that expensive, consider changing your flight to one with a longer connection for the free hotel.
The free hotel is offered on round-trip and one-way flights.
If your connection is less than six hours, you get free access to the Maple Leaf Lounge.
2. Air China
You can get a free hotel when you fly on Air China if your connection is less than 24 hours if your flight connects through:
Only PhoenixMiles Platinum members can choose their hotel. But that’s okay because you’re a free stay in China!
Bonus: Free transportation between the hotel and airport is included and free breakfast.
Pro-tip: Book your hotel when you book your ticket.
Pro-tip: In Beijing, go to the Air China transit service counter facing Exit B on Floor 2 of Terminal 3. If you arrive after 2 am, call Air China’s sales service hotline + 86 10 95583 to arrange transportation.
3. Asiana Airlines
Asiana Airlines provides one-night free hotel accommodation in Seoul on round-trip tickets if there is not an available onward connection.
Pro-tip: You have to request your free hotel when you book your tickets.
Pro-tip: Reconfirm your hotel several days before your flight AND when you check-in at the airport.
Pro-tip: In Seoul, go to the Asiana customer service desk in the Arrivals Hall.
You can read other people’s experiences with the Asiana Airlines’ free hotel stopover on TripAdvisor.
4. China Eastern Airlines
When you book your ticket on the China Eastern Airlines UK website, you get a free night hotel if there are no same day connecting flights available and your flight connects through Shanghai.
Only 1 free night is offered regardless if you have book a round-trip ticket.
You have to apply for your transit hotel at least 5 business days prior to departure.
Bonus: Free round-trip transportation between the airport and hotel is included.
China Eastern used to offer a free hotel with connections in Kunming, Xi’an and Shanghai for tickets booked through the Hong Kong website. Although the offer officially ended, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
5. China Southern Airlines
Tickets bought on China Southern Airlines and international code share flights get a free hotel in Guangzhou on layovers of 8 to 48 hours.
Book your stopover hotel using the China Southern Transit Accommodation website from 180 days up to 24 hours prior to departure.
You can choose from a grade A hotel if:
- The international portion of your flight is in First Class or Business Class
- You are a Sky Pearl Gold member
- You are a Skyteam Elite Plus member
- The domestic portion of your flight is in First Class or Business Class
Grade B hotels are provided for:
- International coach tickets
- International and domestic flights where the domestic portion is in First Class or Business Class
- Sky Pearl Silver members
- Skyteam Elite members
Everyone else gets a Grade C or D hotel.
Bonus: Free round-trip transportation and free breakfast are included.
Note: If you’re having trouble booking your hotel, call +86 20 8612 4008 or email [email protected].
Pro-tip: Upon arrival in Guangzhou, go to CZ transit accommodation service counter at No.20 gate on the first floor of the Terminal.
Pro-tip: International transfer passengers should get an entry permit from Chinese immigration.
6. Egypt Air
Pro-tip: If you aren’t using a travel agent, call the Egyptian office of Egypt Air to book your hotel. Or email [email protected].
Book your room when you book your ticket or on the Emirates website though the Manage My Booking tab.
Bonus: Free round-trip transportation, meals, accommodations, and any UAE visa costs are included.
Note: Your ticket must be valued at $1,000 or more.
I like how it says valued. Leave a comment if you got the free hotel on a First Class or Business Class award ticket. Because the value is definitely greater than $1,000. I haven’t flown on Emirates…yet.
Pro-tip: You have to book your room at least 24 hours prior to your flight.
Free hotels might be offered in other circumstances. You can check to see if you’re eligible for the free hotel if the Dubai Connect link is clickable when you log into your booking.
8. Ethiopian Airlines
Ethiopian Airlines give you a free hotel in Addis Abeba when your layover is between 8 to 24 hours.
Pro-tip: You need an entry visa. US Citizens can get a visa on arrival. 🙂
Free round-trip transportation and transit visa are included.
9. Etihad Airways
Fly First Class on Etihad Airways and get two free nights hotel accommodations (one night free for Business Class) in Abu Dhabi or Dubai:
- Anantara Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa
- Intercontinental Abu Dhabi Hotel
- Jumeirah at Etihad Towers
- Shangri La Hotel, Qarat Al Ber
- The Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal
- The Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi
- The St. Regis Abu Dhabi
- Bonnington Jumeirah Lakes Towers
A maximum of two nights free accommodations are provided for each reservation. Additional nights can be booked at the coach passenger price.
If you’re flying in coach you get the second night free when you pay for the first night. Discounted hotel rates start at $37 per person.
Note: You have to be 21 years or older to check-in at hotels in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Note: Blackout dates apply.
Pro-tip: Book your hotel through your travel agent or online using the Hotel Booking form at least 3 days prior to arrival.
Pro-tip: Only a 6 to 12 hour connection in Abu Dhabi? You can book a Golf Transit Stopover Package. Choice of a round of golf (including clubs) or a day at the pool for $40.
10. Gulf Air
Gulf Air gives you a free hotel in Bahrain if:
- Your layover is 8 hours or more and no connecting flight is available
- You’re flying round-trip on Gulf Air (or a Gulf Air codeshare flight)
- Ticketed in J, C, D, Y, H, M, or L class
If you’re flying in I, P, B, K, X, Q, V, E, O, N, S, W, T, G class, you can book a hotel for $55 per person. $30 per child between 2 to 12 years old.
Pro-tip: You have to get a voucher from Gulf Air before you arrive in Bahrain.
Pro-tip: You’ll be charged $80 per person for a hotel if you wait until you get Bahrain. So get your voucher in advance!
Falcon Gold members booked in J, C, D, I, P who are refused entry by Bahrain immigration will get a meal voucher and can use the Falcon Lounge.
Unless you’re flying in J, C, D, Y, H, M, or L, free hotels are not offered for flights between the Indian sub-continent and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The GCC includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Falcon Gold members flying this route will get a meal voucher and access to the Falcon Lounge. While coach passengers get a meal voucher.
11. Japan Airlines
You can get a free hotel when you fly on Japan Airlines if:
- You are flying internationally (code-share flights not applicable)
- A round-trip ticket is purchased
- Your connection must be within 24 hours
Pro-tip: You have to book your hotel at last one day prior to arrival
Pro-tip: Book through a travel agent. Or contact Japan Airlines in advance to book your free hotel. Ask for the Layover Service (LOPK).
A day use room is available if your connection is longer than 10 hours and your plane arrives at or before 10 am and departs after 8 pm the same day.
Pro-tip: Confirm your hotel at last one day prior to arrival.
12. Korean Air
When you fly Korean Air you can get a free hotel in Seoul if:
- Your layover is 12 hours or more (6 to 12 hours if your flight arrives between 12 am to 3 am)
- Your flight is only on Korean Air
- Ticket fare classe is R, P, F, J, A , C , D, I, Z, Y, B, M, S, H, E, K, L, U, Q
Pro-tip: You have to request the free hotel when you book your tickets.
Pro-tip: Before you book make sure you’re booking a fare class that includes the free hotel. Super cheap flights don’t include the free hotel.
There isn’t an official website but you can read other people’s experiences with Korean Air’s free hotel layover program on TripAdvisor.
Pro-tip: Layover shorter than 12 hours? Take a one of 5 free sightseeing tours offered by Korean Air.
13. Malaysia Airlines
Malaysia airlines used to have page on their website detailing their free hotel layover program. But it’s no longer there.
However, because of STPC, when you fly on select international routes with Malaysia Airlines you get a free hotel night in Kuala Lumpur.
Pro-tip: You have to request your hotel when you book your flight.
14. Qatar Airlines
- A connection of less than 8 hours is not available
- Your layover is 8 to 24 hours
- Your ticket does not include flights to or from Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai, Kuwait, Muscat, Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah
Free round-trip transportation between the airport and hotel, meals, and entry visas are provided. US Citizens can get a visa on arrival.
Note: Free hotels is not valid for all fare classes such as the lowest ticket prices.
Pro-tip: Book your hotel 72 hours prior to departure.
When you arrive in Doha, go to the transfer desk.
Book your flight on Qatar Airlines.
15. Sri Lankan Airlines
When you fly on Sri Lankan Airlines you get a free transit hotel in Columbo when:
- You have a layover of 8 to 24 hours
- There is no earlier connecting flight
- Your ticket cost over $360 (round-trip) or $180 (one-way)
Free round-trip transportation between the airport and hotel and meals are provided.
I took advantage of this both ways when visited Columbo in June. Stay tuned for how to book a free transit hotel, the hotel review, and what to do in Columbo.
Pro-tip: Book your hotel in advance by sending an email to [email protected].
Pro-tip: Upon arrival in Colombo, go to the transit desk to get your pre-booked voucher.
16. TAP Portugal
You could possibly get a free hotel in Lisbon when you fly with TAP Portugal as part of the Bom Dia Lisboa program when:
- Flying to/from Manchester and any long-haul destination
- Flying from Maputo and Algiers to London (Heathrow or Gatwick)
- There are no scheduled same-day connections
I say possibly vs can because the website reference bmi flights which hasn’t been in operation for several years.
Pro-tip: You have to book your hotel when you book your ticket. Or you lose your free hotel.
17. Thai Airways
Thai Airways offers a free transit hotel if you have a connecting international flight with a layover of 6 to 24 hours.
18. Turkish Airlines
You can get two free nights hotel stay in Istanbul when you fly round-trip on Turkish Airlines if:
- You have a 7 hour layover (Business Class) or 10 hour layover (coach)
- Your stopover is less than 24 hours
- There is no shorter connection available
Pro-tip: You need a visa or be from a visa exempt country. The US is NOT a visa exempt country.
Pro-tip: Hotels have to be booked upon arrival. They can’t be booked in advance. Upon arrival in Istanbul go to the hotel desk past customs.
Pro-tip: You may be able to get a free hotel on award flights.
Pro-tip: Got a layover between 6 to 24 hours? Take one of five free tours offered daily. Everything on the tour is included:transportation, activities, entertainment and meals.
Note: You have to choose between a free hotel or a free tour. If you take a free tour, you can not get a free hotel.
Airlines That Might Offer a Free Layover Hotel
These airlines might offer a free layover hotel.
1. Biman Airlines
You might be able to get a free hotel night, transportation and meals in Dhaka, Bangladesh when you fly Biman Airlines.
2. Royal Jordanian
Save money when you travel internationally with this travel pro secret. You can get a free hotel during long layovers from airlines who offer STPC (Stopover Paid by Carrier).
You won’t have to sleep in the airport. Or stumble around like a zombie. Or re-enact a scene from The terminal. Because there are 18 airlines that give you a free hotel room for one night when you have a layover of at least 6 hours. And in some countries, you can get two nights free accommodations.
And these aren’t rinky-dink airlines that offer free transit hotels. We’re talking airlines like Air Canada, Emirates, and Turkish Airlines.
So do the math. It might make sense to book your tickets on one of these airlines if it means a free hotel night.
I used the free transit hotel during my two layovers in Columbo. Stay tuned for my review. Where have you used free layover hotels?
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