Dubai: Just landed in the UAE, and have your boarding pass with you? If you are landing in Dubai, you could get a special tourist discount card and if you are using a UAE-based airline, your plane ticket can double up as a discount card and unlock hundreds of exclusive offers from hotels, spas, restaurants, and theme parks.
If you are flying with a UAE-based airline like Emirates or Etihad, all you have to do is show your boarding pass to get special deals at some of the popular destinations in the country.
However, if you are not flying with either of these airlines, you can still benefit from discounted offers specifically curated for tourists.
Here is all you need to know.
1. Get a free SIM card
If you arrive at Dubai International Airport (DXB), you can get a complimentary ‘Tourism SIM card’ from the telecom operator du when you cross immigration.
Those with a transit visa, visit visa or visa on arrival, and GCC citizens can take advantage of this free offer and receive 1GB of mobile data valid for 24 hours.
According to Visit Dubai, the emirate’s official tourism platform, travellers can top up their plan at a du kiosk in the arrivals area of the airport or at Dubai Duty Free.
You can also opt for other telecommunication operators - Etisalat and Virgin, who also have kiosks at the airport and offer prepaid SIM cards, with packages tailored specifically for tourists.
2. Get the ALSAADA discount card
If you do land at DXB and get the free tourist SIM, you will find a Quick Response (QR) code at the back of the SIM card envelope. Once you scan the code, it will lead you to the app store to download the 'ALSAADA' app.
The app is available for both Apple and Android devices and it is only available for tourists entering through Dubai International Airport (DXB).
The ALSAADA tourist card, offered by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs – Dubai (GDRFAD), offers several promotions and discounts that can be availed during the visitor's stay, by presenting the digital card at restaurants and shops affiliated with the ALSAADA programme.
3. Hire your own driver on an hourly basis
When you are on a sightseeing tour around Dubai, if you want to avoid the hassle of hailing a taxi or booking one each time, you can also choose to hire a limousine driver. While a limo to drive you around might sound expensive, it may be worth taking a look at the cost difference between the charges per kilometer of a regular taxi, compared to a limousine.
According to the Dubai Taxi Corporation (DTC) website, the charges per kilometer for a regular taxi are Dh2.19, while a limousine costs Dh3. There are also no waiting charges that you need to pay, and with a hired driver, you don’t need to book multiple trips from one point to another. It allows you to make an impression while also saving you some time and effort.
How to book a limousine driver by the hour in the UAE
You can book the limousine through the ‘Hourly Rental’ service on the DTC app – ‘DTC’ which is available for Apple and Android devices.
Step 1: Download the app and enter your location
• Download the DTC app.
• Open the app, and tap on ‘Hourly Rental’.
• Tap on ‘Continue’.
• Enter your location on the search or set the location on the map.
Step 2: Select the schedule and duration
Next, select the date and time.
Select the duration from the following options:
• Two hours: Dh400 minimum amount payable
• Four hours: Dh650 minimum amount payable
• Six hours: Dh800 minimum amount payable
• Eight hours: Dh900 minimum amount payable
• Ten hours: Dh1,100 minimum amount payable
It is important to note that additional charges will apply after the booked hourly package, this includes:
• Dh3 per kilometre - after the distance limit
• Dh1 per minute after the time limit.
Step 3: Enter your credit or debit card details:
• Next, select your payment method and enter your credit or debit card details.
• When you add your card details, the DTC app will charge you an additional Dh16 fee to verify your card. You will be reimbursed immediately after the transaction is complete.
• Tap ‘Done’ once you have entered your card details.
• Next, enter the Once-Time Password (OTP) from your bank to confirm the payment.
Step 4: Enter your contact details
• You will then be asked to enter your contact details – mobile number and email address.
• After that, you will get a confirmation SMS and email for your limousine booking from DTC.
4. Get discounts by showing your boarding pass
Two UAE-based airlines – Etihad and Emirates – also allow passengers to get discounts when visiting the UAE at popular tourist spots in the country.
However, you need to make sure you keep your boarding pass or e-boarding pass with you. Etihad offers the ‘Abu Dhabi Pass’, which allows you to get exclusive deals on amusement parks and fine dining restaurants, like theme parks at Yas Island, spas at five star hotels and discounts on hotel reservations.
Emirates, too, has an ongoing offer, where you can get exclusive offers at hundreds of locations like At The Top, Burj Khalifa, amusement parks like Aquaventure Park, other popular tourist destinations and while shopping for top brands across the emirate. The offer is valid until September 30, 2023, and you need to present your digital or physical copy of the boarding pass.