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Etihad debuts new free stopover program in Abu Dhabi

Etihad Airways wants you to spend a day or two in its hometown during your travel journey.

The Abu Dhabi-based airline just announced that it will allow flyers to add a complimentary stopover in Abu Dhabi on eligible tickets. That means that travelers who are trying to fly from New York to Bali, for example, can now enjoy one or two nights in Abu Dhabi along the way.

Etihad’s new stopover program is operated in conjunction with Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism.

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Eligible travelers can spend one or two nights in a “premier” hotel as part of the new Abu Dhabi stopover program. The airline didn’t publish the list of eligible hotels, and they aren’t available yet on the carrier’s website.

The airline does highlight some suggested activities in Abu Dhabi, including the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the Louvre Abu Dhabi museum and the Qasr Al Watan presidential palace.

A Etihad plan docked at an airport

Note that even if you don’t take advantage of the stopover program, you can use your Etihad boarding pass to unlock discounts and other privileges across many of the city’s top attractions. This is part of the Abu Dhabi Pass, which you can learn more about by visiting this site.

To book a complimentary stopover, you’ll need to buy your ticket directly on Etihad’s website and select the Abu Dhabi stopover option.

Etihad’s program largely resembles that of other major Gulf and flag carriers, such as Emirates, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines, that also offer free or heavily discounted stopovers on itineraries that include connections in their hubs.

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As a state-controlled airline, Etihad acts in some ways as a tourism driver for the local economy. As such, it’s likely no surprise that this stopover program is being debuted to promote visits to Abu Dhabi.

It wasn’t immediately clear if you could take advantage of an Abu Dhabi stopover on an award ticket. We will update this post if we hear back from Etihad.

Etihad used to offer a two-tiered version of a stopover program, with free one- and two-night stays at “basic” hotels and up to 40% off discounted rates at nicer hotels. Presumably, this new program will offer travelers a choice of hotels somewhere between the basic and luxury options that were previously on offer with the airline’s stopover program.

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