These 5 Airline Stopovers Deals Won’t Last Long

While the simplest option is always to look for a nonstop flight, you may want to reconsider for your next international getaway.
Airline stopover programs are on the rise, meaning you can enjoy extra time in a new destination — often the carrier’s home city — usually at no added cost. And for a limited time, these five carriers are making it even easier to enjoy two vacations for the price of one.
Some of the newest promotions even include options for complimentary hotel stays, like Singapore Airlines’ The Great Singapore Getaway, which includes a Singapore stopover for as little as $1 (including a one-night hotel reservation) if you book by Oct. 2, 2018.
Likewise, Qatar is offering free one-night stays for layovers of 12 hours or more if booked by Dec. 28.
In addition to the carriers listed below, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for promotions from COPA Airlines and Thai Airways, as both carriers have launched free stopover promos for Panama and Bangkok in the past.
Alitalia
Certain Alitalia flights are eligible for a free stopover in Rome. Stopovers can be up to three days long, though only a select number of routes are permitted, so check this chart to see if a free stopover is available for your itinerary.
To book, contact the Alitalia call center, and inquire about special hotel deals, too. This offer is currently available through Dec. 31.
Etihad
Etihad has a variety of stopover packages at its hub of Abu Dhabi. Business-class passengers can stay one night for free while first-class passengers can stay two nights for free in an Abu Dhabi hotel. The transit stopover program allows passengers with layovers of 6 to 12 hours to play a round of golf, or get day access to a pool for $40.
A current promotion is also welcoming economy passengers with a connection through Abu Dhabi to stay two nights. Passengers will pay for the first night of accommodation, but the second night is free.
Oman Air
Stopovers in Oman are free for passengers traveling roundtrip on Oman Air.  All destinations are valid and a free stopover is available on either the outbound or return journey. Because some charges may apply for the departure journey, it’s best to book your stopover for the return flight home.
Several participating resorts have promotions offering one free night if you stay two or three. These hotels vary in price and each hotel’s promo has its own expiration date, so make sure to check here before booking. Keep in mind Oman has visa requirements that will need to be satisfied if you plan to leave the airport.
Qatar
The +Qatar program calls its stopovers ‘stayovers,’ and they can be booked in three easy steps:

Book your Qatar Airways ticket with transit in Doha.
Apply for your free transit visa, if necessary.
Book your free, one-night hotel stay, or pay $100 for a two-night package (for stops of 12 hours or more).

Hotels included in the +Qatar program include the InterContinental Doha, the Marriott Marquis Doha and the Radisson Blu Doha. This offer must be booked by Dec. 28 for stays until Dec. 31.
Singapore Airlines
While Singapore Airlines offers a basic stopover package ($40 for one night in a hotel and complimentary rides on the SIA Hop-on bus), you can get this package for just $1 if booked by Oct. 2 for travel between Oct. 1, 2018 and Sept. 30, 2019.
You can book your stopover while booking your ticket, or add it on later using the My Booking section of the Singapore Airlines website.
Featured image by Rustam Azmi/Getty Images

SkyTeam Launches New Metasearch Tool to Find and Book Flights Across All 20 Members

Delta loyalists, take note: You’ll be doing yourself a favor by bookmarking SkyTeam’s new Find Flights portal. Fresh out of the coding oven, the revamped metasearch tool allows you to evaluate your paid routing options across all 20 member airlines, including the likes of Delta, Air France, KLM, Alitalia, Korean Air and Aeromexico. One of the most powerful elements of the new tool is its ability to integrate and surface many airlines that are lesser-known among US-based flyers: Saudia, TAROM, Vietnam Airlines and XiamenAir, for example.
The tool, which is available now on the web via flights.skyteam.com, is a first among the major global airline alliances — at least at this level of granularity. The engine shows “real-time availability, schedule and pricing information across 1,074 destinations with clearly displayed results all in one place.” It even includes a direct link out to whichever carrier is selling the flight for the lowest fare, enabling users to purchase and complete the booking without having to reconstruct the route elsewhere.
SkyTeam airlines transporting passengers around the globe. (Photo by the author / The Points Guy)
As of now, the new tool is only available via web, though we’re told that the next iteration of the SkyTeam mobile app (due out in October 2018) will include the new functionality. It’s of particular interest to those seeking to maintain or earn Medallion status on Delta, as it removes the guesswork when it comes to answering the question: “Can I fly to this destination on airlines that I can credit back to my Delta account?”
Delta’s earning chart for partners (located here) lays out what you can expect if you decide to credit SkyTeam partner flights back to your account. It’s worth noting that it can be advantageous to book flights sold and marketed by SkyTeam partners while crediting the flight(s) back to Delta, particularly on cheaper business-class fares, which can provide a huge boost in the MQD department. Delta ranks partners on a tiered status, with its closer allies such as KLM and Air France earning more than distant partners such as Air Europa and Kenya Airways, so be sure to check those before booking.
In our testing of the new functionality, we found it both quick and accurate. It’s pretty intelligent, too. For example, in looking for a round-trip flight between St. Louis (STL) and Rome (FCO), it surfaced an outbound flight that included legs on Delta and Alitalia, while the return was best served with a one-stop journey entirely on Delta metal.

Similarly, a round-trip flight between Portland (PDX) and Kuala Lumpur (KUL) surfaced an outbound itinerary involving Alaska Airlines (PDX to SFO), Korean Air (SFO to ICN) and Malaysia Airlines (ICN to KUL), while the return involved Korean Air and Delta.

Presently, the tool allows you to sort by cheapest, quickest and best, but those only apply to economy fares. There’s no option to search for the lowest fares on premium economy, business and/or first, but we’ve inquired with SkyTeam to understand if this is something that may be the product roadmap.

Lastly, the new SkyTeam portal only surfaces paid options. If you’re looking for SkyTeam award routes, Air France’s booking portal is still your best bet.
Featured image of SkyTeam livery at Atlanta (ATL) airport by the author.