Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi
Flying Stopovers Travel Tips

Visit places for FREE by booking stopover flights | Secret stopover deals

As a British expat in Oz I’m always on the hunt for flight deals between the two countries and especially like to explore route options that give me a chance to discover a new place on route/ break up the epically long journey. I’m planning another trip home at the moment and decided to look around for some stopover flights that would give me a cheap as chips holiday on the way. The airline offers I uncovered in the process have blown me away.  I’ve found airlines who not only let you stopover for free but in some cases even throw in a hotel, visas and transfers 100% complimentary.

Check out these awesome airline deals on stopover flights and bag yourself a free mini-break!

Best Stopover Flights

Doha stopover – free hotel & Visa

Qatar stopover flight deal - free stay in Doha

Al Zubarah Fort via via visitqatar.qa

The best stopover flights deal on the market at the moment comes from Qatar Airways. As part of a campaign called +Qatar, the airline are offering free stopovers in Doha that include your transit visa and a complimentary stay in a 4 or 5 star hotel. Once you book your flight you get to pick from an impressive range of Doha hotels, including the Shangri-La, Marriott, Westin and Four Seasons (for economy passengers – business passengers get even more 5 star options) and if you want to extend your stay to 2 nights you can pay a nominal fee of $50 USD per room. Their website also includes a number of tours you can add-on to make the most of your stopover. You’ve got to move fast though as this offer is only valid until 30 September 2017.

Update: The free Doha stopover offer has been extended to 30 April 2018!

Find some tips on how to spend a long layover in Doha here.

Abu Dhabi stopover with free ride to Dubai

Abu Dhabi stopover flight with Etihad

This is an awesome deal from Etihad Airways that I’ve already taken advantage of. Basically, economy passengers on Etihad stopover flights are offered a free coach service to Dubai when arriving or departing from Abu Dhabi International Airport. (FYI Premium passengers get a free chauffeur to take them anywhere in the UAE, nice!) Once you have an Etihad flight number you can book your coach ticket online anytime up to 24 hours prior to your arrival. The service on the 75-minute ride is on a par with their flights and includes satisfying air con, water bottles, cold towels, USB ports and fresh breath mints handed out mid-journey!

Book the Etihad free coach service.

Etihad also offer a number of 2-for-1 hotel deals on stays in Abu Dhabi so it’s possible to visit both cities on a budget. (Just don’t drink too much as alcohol is extortionate!) We stayed at this affordable hotel in Dubai.

Pro tip: You can book stopover flights on Skyscanner using their multi-city search function. Just tap in the dates you’d like to stay for all the options and prices.

Iceland stopover with free buddy

Free stopover in Iceland

Icelandair offer passengers flying between Europe and US/Canada the chance to stopover in Iceland for up to 7 days at no extra charge. You’ll have to cover your own hotel and transfers but it’s possible to get a taste of Iceland in just a short stay – the number one attraction, the Blue Lagoon, is quick ride from the airport.

If you visit during the winter you can see Iceland through the eyes of a local by requesting a free Stopover Buddy, an Icelandair employee who will act as your personal host for up to one day. Having met some wonderful people in Iceland, this sounds like a fab idea to me!

Find out more about IcelandAir stopovers. 

Portugal stopover with free tours & special hotel rates

Portugal stopover flight with free stay in Lisbon

Lisbon via visitlosboa.com

Another airline offering perks to passengers travelling on mid and long-haul flights is TAP. If you’re travelling between US/Canada, Brazil, Africa or Europe you can opt to stopover in Lisbon or Porto for 1 to 3 nights free of charge. The Portugal Stopover flights also come with exclusive offers including discount hotel rates, free experiences and a free bottle of wine in some restaurants.

The Portugal Stopover site has all the details.

Don’t forget your free money

Finally, if you’re travelling with Singapore Air, Silk Air or Air New Zealand via Singapore Changi Airport don’t forget you’re entitled to free spending money! The Singapore Air Changi Transit Programme offers passengers vouchers up to the value of $40 that can be spent at all retail, food and service outlets in the airport. The offer has just been extended until the 30th September 2017.

Find out more about spending a stopover at Singapore Changi.

So who is tempted by these stopover flights?

Pin for later:

How to see places for free with stopover flights

Further reading:

Abu Dhabi Stopover Guide

10 best things to do in Dubai

20 thoughts that go through my head when flying Sydney to London

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Note: This post is not sponsored or endorsed by any of the brands mentioned but it does contain some affiliate links.

10 Comments

  • Reply
    Kate
    August 29, 2017 at 9:07 am

    I had no clue there were so many options – thanks!

    Kate | http://www.petiteadventures.org/

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      August 29, 2017 at 9:11 am

      Me neither! I’m so glad I did some digging 😀

  • Reply
    Rachel
    August 30, 2017 at 4:12 am

    We got a free stay in Seoul when we flew LHR-SYD with Asiana. There wasn’t much chance to see the city as the stopover was pretty short, but we got free return transfers from Incheon into the city, a nice hotel overnight, dinner and breakfast. Result! It was not widely publicised at all and I think they may have stopped the offer now unfortunately; they were obliged to offer it thanks to their timetabling, which I think they have now amended.

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      August 30, 2017 at 4:15 am

      That is a result! I love when freebies are thrown into the flight and wish more airlines would follow suit, especially if their timetable sucks!

  • Reply
    Roma
    August 30, 2017 at 7:39 am

    Loads of good options especially for that ultra long haul between Europe and Australia. Air Canada offers a stopover if you have a layover of more than 6 (I think it’s 6) hours which is a good opportunity to explore Canada en route to your final destination.

  • Reply
    Jayne Gorman
    August 30, 2017 at 11:51 pm

    Oh that’s another good one! I’ll look it up

  • Reply
    Stuart Forster
    September 1, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    I had a chance to stop over in Doha and thought loved the experience. I see you added a photo of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi among those illustrating this post – isn’t that a gorgeous building.

  • Reply
    Jayne Gorman
    September 4, 2017 at 7:31 am

    Absolutely stunning isn’t it! I’d gladly stopover in Abu Dhabi again so that I could plan another visit.

  • Reply
    Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad
    September 6, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    This is great! I never knew a lot of these stopover options included so many perks!

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      September 7, 2017 at 2:03 am

      Me neither, I’ll be keeping my eye out for more deals now!

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