July 25 , 2023
The city between two continents is the hub of Turkish Airlines, which flies to over 120 countries - more than any other airline in the world - and has an excellent offer for travelers passing through.
With the 'Stopover Istanbul' program from Turkish Airlines, you have the chance to get a taste of this amazing city in addition to your other international travel plans. The 'Stopover Istanbul' program applies to roundtrip flights from the USA to all international destinations (outside of Türkiye), as well as roundtrip flights from Canada to select destinations from Eastern Europe to Asia, the Middle East and more.
Visitors flying from the United States can actually benefit from 2 nights’ accommodation with Economy Class tickets, or 3 nights’ accommodation with Business Class tickets. How cool is that?!
How do you find and book eligible flight tickets for this program? See the two scenarios below:
How to get 1 free night in Istanbul:
Step 1. Book your roundtrip international flights through the Turkish Airlines website.
Select the ‘Round trip’ booking tool in the ‘Flight’ tab on the home page of the airline’s website. When booking, look for the “Stopover Istanbul” logo which marks flights that are eligible for the program. There must be at least 20 hours of transit time between your flights, but the logo will make these routes easy to spot.
Note that you will also see a 'Touristanbul' logo – this program is for layovers between 6 and 24 hours, and will get you a free city tour (you can’t use both ‘Touristanbul and ‘Stopover Istanbul’ together).
Here is an example of what you could see on the Turkish Airlines flight search results page ...
This roundtrip flight from New York City to Paris has a 21-hour stopover in Istanbul.
This roundtrip flight from Boston to Rome has an almost 22-hour stopover in Istanbul.
Keep in mind: You can only use the program on either the outbound or return journey, one time only. Your flight must be for a destination outside of Türkiye - the service is not offered to passengers connecting to domestic flights in Türkiye.
Step 2. Send your flight info to a designated email address in order to receive your hotel voucher.
You will apply based on which country your initial flight departs from.
departing from the USA: firstname.lastname@example.org
departing from Canada: email@example.com
For others, find the full list of contact emails at this page.
At least 72 hours before your first flight, you can make your hotel reservation by sending the following info to the email address as mentioned above: name and surname of passengers, reservation code (PNR) and ticket number, desired accommodation dates, preferred room type (family room, single room, double with 2 beds, etc.), telephone number and e-mail address. You will then receive a hotel voucher. Upon check-in, all you have to do is present your hotel voucher and boarding pass. Again, you must have the voucher to use this service.
How to get 2 or 3 free nights in Istanbul
(only for flights from the United States or in Business Class):
If you’re wondering how to use the ‘Stopover Istanbul’ service for more than one night, then you’ll need to know how to use the ‘Multi-city’ booking tool on the Turkish Airlines website. This will allow you to give yourself a window of 2 to 3 nights in Istanbul that you can’t find just searching flights with the ‘Round trip’ search tool. Economy Class passengers flying from the United States can get 2 nights’ hotel stay, while all Business Class passengers can get 2 nights, and Business Class passengers flying from the United States can get 3 nights.
So, for example, if you want to fly from Washington, D.C. to Dublin, you can route one leg of your trip through Istanbul. Using the ‘Multi-city’ flight search tool, you might choose the 1st flight from D.C. to Istanbul on a Friday, then the 2nd flight from Istanbul to Dublin on a Sunday, giving yourself the weekend to discover Istanbul. Then, for the 3rd flight, your return back home, you can search a flight directly from Dublin to D.C. You could choose to do the Istanbul city break before or after your other international destinations, it’s entirely up to you.
An example of a 2-night stopover in Istanbul, found with the Multi-city flight search tool.
Having booked directly through Turkish Airlines, you can send all of the flight details and information as mentioned above to the same email channels to receive your hotel voucher. If you feel uncomfortable making these bookings yourself, you could always contact the Turkish Airlines customer service center directly via 1-800-874-8875.
In the above scenario, there was not a big price difference between the roundtrip tickets from Washington, D.C. to Dublin and the price of the flight tickets with the Istanbul stopover added on. This all depends on your starting and ending points, but this can be an economical way to add a lot of intrigue to your European vacation.
Next steps ...
While you're in front of your computer, we recommend applying for your visa online. It's easier and faster than getting it at the airport and costs $50 per person at the time of writing. Don't wait until the last minute to apply - at least 48 hours in advance of your departure flight is advised. Just head to https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/.
Then, let us know you're coming (or thinking about coming) and we'll plan a custom Istanbul stopover just for you. We can't wait to show you around!
If you have time for more than one day to visit the ‘City of the World’s Desire’, check out our blog on what to do for 3 Perfect Days in Istanbul.