Etihad Airways Stops Offering Free Hotel Nights During Stopovers

Etihad Flugzeug

For many years, Etihad Airways has been offering free hotels for stopovers of up to two nights in Abu Dhabi. This was a welcome opportunity for many travellers to explore the United Arab Emirates’ capital on their way from Europe to Africa, Asia, Australia or vice versa. These times are officially over as of today.

Instead of the previously “free” hotel stay, the airline now advertises “discounted” hotel stays between stops. The change has been implemented at some point between March13 and March 15, 2024.

Formerly “Free” Stopovers Become “Amazing”

When we checked Etihad’s stopover program the last time on March 13, 2024, the airline still promised two free hotel nights in a three-star hotel:

EY Free Stopover
Etihad’s stopover website on March 13, 2024…

48 hours later, the stopovers have become amazing, but are no longer free of charge. The formerly complimentary stay has been switched to a discounted stay. An elegant phrasing for a disappointing development:

EY Amazing Stopover
…two days later, stopovers are suddenly amazing, but no longer complimentary.

Sadly, we cannot tell you how big the advertised discount actually is. The reason for that is that you can only access availabilities and prices if you have an active Etihad booking that qualifies for the stopover program. This downgrade to the previous process has upset passengers over the last couple of months. Now the offer gets even worse.

The discounted hotels are exactly the same as the complimentary ones from 2 days prior:

  • Aloft Abu Dhabi
  • Centro Al Manhal
  • City Seasons Al Hamra Hotel  
  • Golden Tulip Abu Dhabi Downtown
  • Millennium Al Rawdah Hotel
  • Premier Inn Abu Dhabi Capital Centre Hotel
  • Premier Inn Abu Dhabi International Airport Hotel
  • Southern Sun Abu Dhabi
  • Traders Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri

Bottom Line

We have received plenty of comments about the abysmal availability of free hotel nights during the end 2023 and early 2024. It seems like Etihad actively gutted its once attractive stopover program quietly over the last six months and never acknowledged it properly. The downgrade from free to discounted hotel nights seems a conclusive step by the airline – it still is a massive disappointment for passengers.

Cover Picture: Photo by Fabian Joy on Unsplash

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