Emirates has resumed its popular “Dubai Connect” program after a pandemic-related hiatus. You can now enjoy a free hotel stay in Dubai if your layover is longer than 10 hours.
Emirates Resumes “Dubai Connect” Program – Free Hotel Room During Long Layovers
While schedules continue to be impacted by the pandemic, Emirates is currently operating over 90 destinations across six continents. Frequencies, however, remain limited, which sometimes forces (excruciatingly) long layovers.
Emirates’ “Dubai Connect” program gives transit passengers a free hotel when their layover exceeds 10 hours. This is available to passengers in all classes of service and places them in four or five star hotels in Dubai. It also includes transportation and meals plus a visa to enter Dubai for those who require one.
Dubai is currently open to visitors from around the world, subject to a negative COVID-19 test.
How To Book Free Transit Hotel In Dubai With Emirates
In order to book your free transit hotel as part of the “Dubai Connect” program, follow the three steps below:
- Book your flights, then use your surname and reference number to log in
- Navigate to the “Manage” section and choose Dubai Connect
- Add the service at least 24 hours ahead of your flight to Dubai
If you are unsuccessful in doing this, proceed to the transit desk upon arrival in Dubai and Emirates staff may be able to set you up with a hotel room, though this is not guaranteed.
Do All Layovers Qualify?
In short, no. You cannot book a deliberately long layover in order to take advantage of the free hotel room. Instead, your connection must be the shortest one available, even if more expensive. As Emirates puts it:
To book a Dubai Connect service, the connecting flight on your itinerary must be the best available connection. This means that the stopover time in Dubai between your two flights must be the shortest one available.
So let’s say you were flying from London to Bangkok via Dubai. Say you have a choice between a three hour and a 15 hour layover in Dubai and the 15-hour layover is much cheaper. If you choose to take that longer layover, you will not be eligible for the Dubai Connect program because there was a faster layover you chose not to take.
Emirates’ Dubai Connect program is a great incentive to choose Emirates when faced with a series of arduous itineraries. A free hotel with meals and transportation certainly helps a layover fly by smoother than waiting in the airport.
Have you taken advantage of the Dubai Connect program with Emirates? What was your experience like?
I took them up on this offer a few years ago inbound business class and outbound ultra long haul first class. the hotel then was the airport le Meridien and I suspect it still is. it was a dump and has now had redecoration but still likely lipstick on a pig. emirates had their own entrance and staff who were gruff at best. it was also crawling with hookers which is fine if that’s a fella’s thing, but everything felt seedy. I kicked myself for not researching what the situation would look like and having those unpleasant hours when I could have actually enjoyed myself someplace nice. learn from my mistake. word to the wise.