For years, Turkish Airlines had a really sweet deal – if you were coming from specific destinations, had a roundtrip ticket on their airline to certain countries, and had a layover of 20 hours or more at Istanbul Airport (IST), Turkish Airlines would provide one night in a four-star hotel if you were flying economy class, or two nights in a five-star hotel for passengers flying business and first-class.

More than 57,000 transfer passengers from 42 countries took advantage of the program. The program was suspended during the epidemic. The good news is that it is back! They have even expanded eligibility.

When the program was put on pause, the country departure points included in the program were Algeria, Australia, Azerbaijan, Canada, China, Danes, Ethiopia, Finnegans, Greece, Ireland, India, Iran, Italy,Ivory Coast, Japan, Kazakhstan.

There will be 15 new country departure points added to the program this year. Forbes says they are in the works, but as of this writing they are not included on Turkish Airways website.

How it works

You need to send an email to Turkish Airlines if you buy a roundtrip ticket for any of the departure points above and to the arrival points listed on their page. The following should be included.

  • your first and last name
  • reservation code (PNR) or ticket number
  • date range for the anticipated accommodation
  • preferred room type (single, double or triple)
  • telephone number
  • your email address

The email address to send the information varies depending on the departure point. You will receive a hotel voucher if they have this info at least 72 hours before your first flight.

You can extend your stay at a starting rate of $49 per night.

You need a visa to enter Turkey if you are from the U.S. You can apply through the Republic of Türkiye Electronic Visa System.

Terms and Conditions

There is a lot of fine print.

  • Stopovers apply for the cities and countries in the scope of stopovers indicated in the table below.
  • Stopover is only available for passengers transferring via Istanbul Airport(IST). Outbound and inbound flights should be through Istanbul
  • All flights should be included to the destinations given in the table in order to benefit from stopover free accommodation service.
  • Free accommodation is available for round-trip tickets. Free accommodation can be used on the outbound or return journey.
  • Visa fees, the cost of travel around the city, and cost of travel between the airport and hotel are borne by the passenger.
  • Passengers wishing to benefit from stopover free accommodation service should prefer a transit duration between two flights lasting 20 hours or more.
  • Free accommodation is only available for flights operated by Turkish Airlines. Passengers can take advantage of free accommodation using their ticket number only ıf issued by Turkish Airlines stock number starting 235
  • In order to benefit from stopover free accommodation service, application must be sent to the relevant country’s e-mail address at least 72 hours before the first flight. You can obtain more information in How does stopover work? section.
  • Passengers using stopover free accommodation service cannot benefit from TourIstanbul service at the same time (Note from Sharon: that program remains closed due to COVID).
  • In order to benefit from stopover free accommodation service, all outbound and inbound destinations of the flight shall be included to the ‘Stopover Destinations’ list. For example: In a travel with the following flights: Kazan – Istanbul – Munich / Chisinau – Istanbul – Kazan, passengers cannot benefit from free accommodation service between Kazan – Munich routes as Chisinau is not included to the ‘Stopover Destinations’ list.
  • Passengers without any hotel vouchers cannot benefit from free accommodation service.
  • Boarding pass and hotel voucher must be presented during check-in to the hotel.
  • After obtaining hotel voucher for extra accommodation, you can benefit from the special fares of Turkish Airlines by directly contacting with the hotel.
  • The hotel options provided are subject to the availability of Turkish Airlines contracted hotels.
  • We are providing 1-night stay in a 4-Star hotel for Economy Class and 2 nights stay in a 5-Star hotel for the Business Class.
  • Passengers that get a involuntary ticket reissue due to a flight cancellation for operational reasons, cannot benefit from the stopover accommodation service.
  • Departure and return country of the round trip must be the same for a stopover to apply.For example, Following flights are eligible for stopover: New York – Addis Ababa – Accra – New York Passenger departs from and return to same country which is US and both Addis Ababa and Accra included into destination list as they are located in Africa. If passenger goes to Africa and return from another city which is not included into destination list, passenger would not be able get advantage from stopover service.
  • Hotel vouchers are non-changeable after once voucher is issued by system.
  • Free accommodation is subject to Hotel availability and Turkish Airlines has the right to change terms and conditions at any time.
  • Passengers traveling with AnadoluJet cannot benefit from the Stopover Accommodation service.
  • Stopover passengers may use the Stopover Accommodation Service once on departure or once on return.
  • Passengers offered Stopover Accommodation must meet the requirements for entry to Türkiye.
  • It is the responsibility of the passengers to meet the country entry requirements and the requirements for stopover passengers entering Türkiye.
  • Passengers are responsible for all visa/passport and regulatory obligations required to enter and exit Türkiye (e-visa, visa fee, documents requested for health reasons, control of countries whose entry is restricted under COVID-19 practices, etc.).
  • Turkish Airlines is not responsible for any errors or inaccuracies in the information, which may be amended at any time.
  • Turkish Airlines reserves the right to change the terms and conditions of the Stopover Accommodation Service.

Pedro Szekely has a feature photo.

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