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Money Hack: Score a free hotel room when you opt for an extended layover

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Get two holidays for the price of one.

Long stopovers are often considered something to avoid, but what if I told you that they can be a blessing in disguise?

On top of giving you the chance to break up a long flight, they can also give you the chance to stay overnight and explore a new city absolutely free. Here's how:

The hack

More and more airlines are offering passengers the chance to cash in on a free hotel stay, transit into the city, enjoy meal discounts and more. All you have to do is include a long stopover at the airline's home city in your flight itinerary and follow the prompts.

Some airline stopover deals include:

  • Cathay Pacific - Free airport transfers, pocket Wi-Fi and extra night stay: Book a three-night stay in Hong Kong on your stopover and Cathay Pacific will pay for your first night for select 4-5 star hotels. On top of this, Cathay Pacific will also provide complimentary express airport tickets, an extra day of pocket Wi-Fi for travellers from Singapore who purchase a three-day rental and dining discounts. More details here.
  • Air India - Free hotel stay: Stay over 8 hours, but under 24 hours, in Delhi and Air India will foot your hotel bill. This is only valid on select flight routes and only on your outbound journey. More details here.
  • Qatar Airways - Free hotel stay: Thanks to Doha's transit visa and a partnership with Doha Tourism Authority, passengers can get a free 5-star hotel stay when they book a multi-city trip with Doha as a stopover. To obtain the free transit visa, your stop must be between 5 and 96 hours. More details here.

Many other airlines offer hotel stays in their home city to varying degrees, so if you've the time and the interest, it's worth looking into potential layover deals like these.

finder money hacks is a bi-weekly roundup of the latest tips and tricks to improve your finances. Check back every Wednesday and Saturday for new hacks.

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