Get A Free Hotel When Booking Award Travel On Turkish Airlines

It used to be that many airlines would give business class passengers a hotel room for the night when their itineraries forced them to have an overnight connection. This was especially common with national carriers who were competing for business, and also promoting their destination. Over the years it’s become more and more rare, though occasionally a national airline will promote a stopover deal where you can stop in their country without increasing the fare and perhaps pair it with a hotel discount.

Turkish Airlines is unique in that they:

  • Offer a hotel for overnight connections
  • Do this for business class and for coach
  • And even do it for award tickets

Several years ago a young staffer at my office was looking for the absolute cheapest way to get to Eastern Europe, and Turkish had an especially low fare. She was trying to figure out how to make it work, because it meant overnighting in Istanbul and the hotel was going to blow the savings. I showed her how the free hotel program worked, and she got a night at the Radisson Blu by the airport.

Well, Turkish suspended the program during the pandemic but it’s back. And business class passengers can actually get two nights at what’s considered a 5-star hotel (while economy passengers are entitled to a single night at a four star).

You have to be flying on a roundtrip ticket issued on Turkish ticket stock with a stopover of 20 hours or longer. That means you can use miles as long as it’s Turkish’s own Miles & Smiles (partner airline tickets aren’t eligible, no United or Air Canada redemptions, just transfer Citibank, Capital One or Bilt points to Turkish).

You can only take advantage of the stopover in one direction though you must connect through Istanbul both ways. Your departure and return country must be the same (you cannot open jaw from the United States on the outbound and back to Canada for instance and take advantage of this). And you can’t double dip this with free Istanbul transit tours that they also offer.

This makes Turkish ideal for connections to destinations with once a day service even when their long haul flight schedules don’t line up well, and it promotes visiting their country. They cite 57,000 passengers having taken advantage of the program. However that’s since the start of the current generation of the program in 2017, and the program isn’t well promoted. In fact the hotel program long predates this.

This is only valid for passengers originating in one of 42 countries: 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 United States of America.

However they intend to add 15 more originating countries to the list: Kenya, Zambia, Mozambique, Indonesia, South Korea, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Nepal, Argentina, Brazil, Panama, Colombia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Bahrein.

Contact phone number and email for booking the free hotel stay after ticket issuance is here.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Worked a lot better when the airport was next to the city. Now it’s a long drive from the New IST.

    I prefer to stay at the YotelAir and never leave airside. Hop over to the Business Class Lounge for a quick bite, and back in bed within ten minutes.

  2. Unfortunately not valid for return trips from the US to western or central Europe.

    @Gary: is this stopover offer also valid for Turkish Miles&Smiles “promotional” award rates (which are significantly lower than their normal award rates)?

  3. Yeah, they are good and pretty unique about this. They also let connecting passengers that have over 12 hours connections in economy, and over 9 hours connections in business to get a hotel room for free (this is if the schedule is such that the only possible onward flight from IST is over that amount of connection time)

  4. I was just looking into Turkish Business award flights for DFW-TLV with a multiple day stopover in Istanbul. Appears you must call Turkish to book a free stopover on a RT so hoping the free hotel could be done on the same call (guessing not).
    Based on their website, flight destinations from the USA which qualify for a free hotel include “Africa, Eastern Europe, Balkans, Southern Europe, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Jordan, Afghanistan, Nepal”. So maybe I fly Jordan to TLV separately. IST to TLV has 777-300 lie-flat business flight(s).

  5. Be careful! They “effed” me twice on the layover hotel. And what really got me the second time was the joy the guy seemed to get in doing it. They just wouldn’t give me one even though they had in the past. I either had to get a room myself or go back to the lounge, which is what I did. It’s a long time in the lounge but the TK lounge is one of the best. Other than that, I pretty much avoid TK at all costs on my Star Alliance travels, about 150K miles/year. They burn you on things like the room and schedule changes at the drop of a hat, and then could give a shit less how it impacts you.

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