Who doesn’t love a good travel hack? Especially one that involves a free hotel stay and the excuse to explore one of the most culturally significant cities in the world, Istanbul.
For passengers with a layover of 20 hours or more at Istanbul Airport (IST) and traveling on a roundtrip Turkish Airlines ticket, the airline is providing one night in a four-star hotel for passengers flying economy and two nights in a five-star hotel for passengers flying business and first-class.
The program, which started in 2017 but was suspended during the pandemic, has recently resumed, marking a positive turning point in post-pandemic travel. More than 57,000 transfer passengers from 42 countries and 108 cities took advantage of the program during the previous run.
This year, 15 new country departure points will be added to the program, including Kenya, Zambia, Mozambique, Indonesia, South Korea, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Nepal, Argentina, Brazil, Panama, Colombia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain.
The current country departure points included in the program are Algeria, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Canada, China, Denmark, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, Ghana, Greece, Ireland, India, Iran, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Morocco, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Scotland, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
How the Turkish Airlines Stopover Program Works
Once a roundtrip ticket is purchased from one of the departure points listed above, passengers must send an email to their departure country’s designated email address. Email addresses follow this format email@example.com and can be found on the Turkish Airlines website on the Stopover Program’s main information page. The hotel stay can be used on either end (outbound or return) of the roundtrip ticket.
Passengers will be asked to provide their name, reservation code (PNR) or ticket number, a date range for the anticipated stay, preferred room type (single, double, or triple), and a telephone number and e-mail address. This information needs to be provided at least 72 hours before the first flight leg.
Once this information is provided, a hotel voucher is issued. Transfers from the airport to the hotel are not included in the cost.
A visa is required for passengers entering the country with a U.S. passport and can be applied for electronically through the Republic of Türkiye Electronic Visa System.
Passengers will also have the option to increase the length of their initial free-of-charge accommodations at a starting rate of $49 a night.
More information on the stopover program can be found on the Turkish Airlines website.