Turkish Airlines Stopover Program: Enjoy a Free Hotel in Istanbul or a Free Tour

Istanbul Bosporus

Frequent flyers, as many of our readers are, will often fly to various cities, but only see the airport. On our way to far-away destinations, we will usually connect in one of the big airlines’ hubs, without ever really getting to see the city, no matter how beautiful and appealing it is. Well, if you’re flying with Turkish Airlines, you might be eligible for their “Stopover in Istanbul” program, with which you will get a free hotel, so that you can explore the Turkish metropolis before continuing your journey.

What Does Turkish Airlines Offer?

Basically, Turkish Airlines will give you a voucher, with which you can sleep at a hotel, free of charge. If you’re flying economy class, you’ll get 1 night in a 4-star hotel, while business class passengers can get up to 2 nights in a 5-star hotel. Transportation costs and everything else are not included, but getting the hotel for free is quite a fantastic opportunity.

Who is Eligible?

First of all, you need to book a connection with at least 20 hours of layover time. Additionally, your roundtrip flights have to be issued and operated by Turkish Airlines. Now it gets trickier: “Stopover in Istanbul” is not available for all countries. Flights from France or the Benelux countries, for instance, are not eligible for this program. Here’s a table of the flights that are eligible:

Eligible Routes
FromTo
AlgeriaAmerica Region, Asia-Far East, Middle East
AustraliaBalkans, Europe, Middle East, Turkey domestic routes
AzerbaijanAmerica Region (USA, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Cuba, Argentina and Brazil), Asia & Far East, Africa, Russia, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Israel, London, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Frankfurt, Barcelona, ​​Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania
BelarusAsia-Far East, Middle East, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Southern Europe, America Region
Beijing, Xi’an, Guangzhou, ShanghaiAmerica Region (USA, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Panama, Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico), Europe, Africa, Middle East
DenmarkAmerica Region, Asia-Far East, Africa, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Balkans
EstoniaAsia & Far East and Eastern Africa, Southern Europe, America Region, Middle East, Eastern Europe
EthiopiaUSA, Canada, Amsterdam, Moscow, Geneva, Stockholm
FinlandAmerica Region, Asia-Far East, Africa, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Balkans
GhanaEurope, America Region, Asia-Far East, Beirut, Israel
GreeceMiddle East, Asia-Far East, Eastern Europe, Balkans, North Europe, America Region (USA, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Panama, Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico), United Kingdom, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa
IrelandAsia, Far East, Africa, Middle East
IndiaAmerica Region (USA, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Panama, Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico), Europe and Middle East
IranAmerica Region, Asia-Far East, Eastern Europe, North Europe, Balkans, United Kingdom, Africa, Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Spain
ItalyAmerica Region, China, Malaysia, India, Thailand, Japan, Russia, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Egypt, Oman, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Jordan, South Korea
Ivory CoastEurope, America Region, Asia-Far East, Beirut, Israel, Medina
JapanEurope, Middle East, Africa
KazakhstanAmerica Region, South Africa, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Belarus, Turkmenistan, Egypt, Greece, Kiev, Thailand, Hong Kong, India, United Kingdom, Ireland, Schengen Countries, Tel Aviv, Dubai, Doha, Bahrain
KuwaitAmerica Region (USA, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Panama, Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico), Europe, Balkans, Asia Far East, Africa, Middle East, Cyprus
LatviaAsia & Far East, Middle East, Africa, America Region (USA, Canada, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Cuba, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico) and South Europe, Eastern Europe, Balkans
LithuaniaAsia & Far East, Middle East and America Region (USA, Canada, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Cuba, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico), South Europe, Africa, Georgia
MalaysiaEurope, Middle East, Africa, America Region
MoroccoMiddle East & Cyprus, Saudi Arabia (Hajj & Umrah), Asia & Far East, Eastern Europe and the Balkans, Sub-Saharan Africa, Sudan, Egypt, Greece, France, Malta, Belarus, Russia, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Sweden, Norway and Cuba
NigeriaAsia-Far East, Middle East, America Region
NorwayAmerica Region, Asia-Far East, Africa, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Balkans
OmanAmerica Region (USA, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Panama, Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico), United Kingdom, Ireland, North Africa, Europe, Balkans, Jordan, Lebanon, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Russia
PakistanUSA, United Kingdom, Ireland, Schengen countries, Canada, Saudi Arabia (Hajj, Umrah), Azerbaijan
PortugalAsia-Far East, Middle East, Africa, Europe, Balkans
QatarEurope, Balkans, North Africa, America Region (USA, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Panama, Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico), Cyprus, Mauritania, Ghana and Ethiopia
RussiaAmerica Region (USA, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Panama, Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico), Asia-Far East, Africa, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Portugal, Greece, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Georgia, Malta, Israel, Prague, Vienna, Belgrade, Baku, Bucharest, Jordan, Croatia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Central Europe, Middle East, Northern Europe, Balkans
SerbiaBrazil, Argentina, Cuba, USA, Canada, Russia, Ukraine, Portugal, United Arab Emirates, Iran, India, Israel, Oman, Uzbekistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Thailand, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Tanzania, Mauritius, Seychelles
South AfricaAsia-Far East, America Region, United Kingdom, Ireland, Europe, Saudi Arabia (Hajj, Umrah), Middle East, North Africa
SpainMiddle East, Asia-Far East, Eastern Europe, Balkans, North Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, America Region (USA, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Panama, Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico), United Kingdom, North Africa, Greece
SwedenAmerica Region, Asia-Far East, Africa, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Balkans
TanzaniaAsia-Far East, Middle Europe, North Europe, America Region, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Tehran, Najaf, Oman, Paris, Lyon, Israel, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom
ThailandEurope, Middle East, Africa, America Region
TunisiaAmerica Region, United Kingdom, Africa, Asia-Far East, Middle East, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Romania, Greece, France
United KingdomAsia, Far East, Africa, Middle East
UkraineAmerica Region, Europe, United Kingdom, Ireland, Seychelles, Mauritius, Georgia , Azerbaijan, Thailand, Israel, China, Maldives, Dubai, Morocco, Russia, Egypt, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Hong Kong, Mexico, Singapore, India, Vietnam, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates
USAAfrica, Eastern Europe, Balkans, Southern Europe, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Jordan, Afghanistan, Nepal

If your country of origin and destination are eligible, you need to write an email or call your country’s email-address or phone number, which can be found here. You need to do this at least 72 hours before your first flight.

Alternative – Turistanbul

All passengers, regardless of the country of origin and destination, with international connections in Istanbul and a layover time of 6-24 hours can make use of Turkish Airlines’ Turistanbul program. This is a tour of Istanbul, organized by Turkish Airlines and completely free of charge. There are 5 tours per day, which differ in length and in the attractions shown. You can check the exact list of attractions here.

turistanbul
Sightseeing schedule

You do not need to register for Turistanbul beforehand. You only need to go through passport and customs control and then go to the Hotel Desk, 30 minutes before the tour is scheduled to start.

Please note that Touristanbul is not combinable with the stopover program. Also, please check the visa requirements, as you will be entering Turkey.

Conclusion

Turkish Airlines really offers great opportunities to explore Istanbul on your way to somewhere else. Getting a free hotel room is great, and while this is not available for everyone, the Touristanbul alternative is still very attractive, if not even more attractive as you’ll get a tour of Istanbul’s most beautiful and prominent sights. All of this being free of charge, you should really try to make use of these fantastic programs.

Cover Picture: Engin Yapici / unsplash.com

Write a comment

Comments (10)

  1. Olatunde Adeoye says:

    We transisted via Instabaul from Gatwick on the 30th of September 2022 and were denied the free hotel accomodation even though we had a 15 hour layover. the excuse was since we had no turkish visa we were not entitled. before booking with Turkish airline, it was not a requirement as it was a forced layover as opposed to a voluntarily stop over. A customer had already mentioned that they will always try to avoid their obligations. this has been proven true and l will think twice before making a booking with Turkish Airline anytime in the future. They simply do not honour their words. my trip with them was a sad experience.

  2. Adz says:

    It’s very different to Emirates layover programme and way worse (for long layovers which are not the customer’s mistake). The hotel they give you is about 45 mins drive from the airport – and they don’t give transfers and ask you to take public transport (2h45). We asked for wheelchair assistance as sickly passenger travelling and they don’t care. They put the patient and the carer in different rooms. Check in at the hotel is more than 4 hours after you arrive, so you sit and wait in the middle of the night. Don’t even try to contact customer service, they are very unhelpful and dismissive. Business Class passengers are not treated well, and I’m now dreading my return leg which is on Economy class. Hotel they give has very bad reviews, and also bad customer service. I do not recommend this programme at all.

  3. eva says:

    can you get the two in one layover my flight has a 21h layover and is compatible with the tourIstanbul thing

  4. Zain Jassiem says:

    My wife and I would like to stopover for 2 weeks in Istanbul before continuing onto Bangkok. Is this possible ?

  5. Melanie Putra says:

    For the Stopover Program, can we choose the hotels? Previously I think cannot but if not wrong, recently I saw that they offer extension of stay if longer than 2 nights (business class) at a discount. Surely this means we choose the hotel..?

  6. Jonas says:

    Hello , was trying to sign up for the free hotel night for our upcoming layover and received the following reply;

    Hello, according to our checks, your destination can be reached by an alternative flight to your first flight and the waiting time is less. Unfortunately, you cannot take advantage of the hotel service. Thank you for contacting us.

  7. Berliner in lis says:

    Ist das jetzt wieder neu aufgelegt oder wie?

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