As part of my upcoming Maldives trip there have been a few planning stages strung out over the past few months. The main legs were set back in February, some first class positioning flights to LAX were paid for with Ultimate Rewards points in June, and then there were just a couple more items to take care of. One remaining item was an overnight in Colombo (a change from original plan) after paying for a flight on Sri Lankan. Luckily I just discovered a SriLankan Airlines free layover hotel perk out of pure chance.
Stumbling across the SriLankan Airlines free layover hotel perk
I was looking at booking the Serenediva Colombo Transit Hotel since we have a 10 hour overnight layover. The idea of an airside hotel sounded great for a lot of reasons. Mainly to not have to clear immigration, hop in a shuttle, and get to a hotel for such a short amount of sleep. And of course do that process backwards the next day.
I was reading reviews of the hotel and it seemed to be sparse but clean and perfectly functional. Until…I saw this review from a couple years back:
Most reviews were better than this one, but the part about getting a free room had me the most interested. The transit hotel is reasonable at $60 for 6 hours, depending on room type, and $15/hour beyond that. But, of course free sounded better!
SriLankan Airlines Free Layover Hotel Option
I started googling and found nothing on the SriLankan website to indicate the free hotel perk. Luckily I came across this Flyertalk thread which discussed the free benefit. A Flyertalk user stated he had received the following email from SriLankan covering the free hotel requirements:
Thank you for contacting SriLankan Airlines.
Refer below criteria to be met in order to be eligible for complimentary transit hotel accommodation as requested.
We regret to inform you that we do not handle visa queries. Please visit www.eta.gov.lk for more information if required.
1. The transit time should be over 8 hours and less than 24 hours.
2. The net fare paid should be over USD 180(exclusive of taxes) for one-way journeys and over USD 360(exclusive of taxes) for return tickets.
3. The connecting flight must be on the first available connection.
4. Pakistani passport Holders should obtain ETA.
5. Hotel accommodation will only be provided in Colombo.
If you require further clarification, please contact our Call Center on the numbers below.
Since we had paid for these flights in business class the above applied as we are arriving in the evening and on the first flight to Male in the morning. The thread also states that economy passengers are entitled to a room with a 12+ layover, but I could not verify that on the Sri Lankan website.
So sure enough I emailed Sri Lankan with my reservation number and flight details and within 8 hours received the following back:
We would like to inform you that the Transit Hotel Accommodation which was requested have been confirmed at ‘RAMADA DELUXE KATUNAYAKE’.
Unfortunately, this Ramada Deluxe in Katunayake has underwhelming reviews, but, it is free. I had actually requested the Serenediva Transit Hotel specifically but it appears part of the deal is not being able to request a specific property. From reading the Flyertalk thread and other websites it appears the hotel SriLankan offers for this perk changes often.
There are other airlines that offer free hotels when in transit but Sri Lankan is certainly one I hadn’t heard of before. Although the restrictions mean it certainly won’t work for everyone be sure to keep this perk in mind. Especially since Sri Lankan doesn’t seem to advertise it.