American AAdvantage Moves Morocco To Europe

Filed Under: American, Awards

This is great news for most people with American AAdvantage miles.

Royal Air Maroc recently joined oneworld

At the beginning of the month, Royal Air Maroc formally joined oneworld, which was an exciting development. Obviously the announcement would have been more exciting if COVID-19 weren’t a thing and if the airline were actually flying, but it’s still a great long-term addition to the alliance.

This means that it’s now possible to earn and redeem miles with all oneworld loyalty programs for travel on Royal Air Maroc, not to mention receive reciprocal elite oneworld benefits.

Royal Air Maroc 737

American AAdvantage moves Morocco to Europe

American AAdvantage has zone based award charts, meaning the cost of a partner award is generally just determined based on the regions you’re traveling between. I appreciate that American publishes award charts at all (unlike Delta and United), and for that matter find American’s award rates to generally be quite good.

Along those lines, there’s an interesting development — on the American AAdvantage award chart, Morocco has been moved from Africa to Europe. You’ll see this under the “region definitions” portion of their award chart.

That means the mileage requirement for travel to Morocco is now based on Europe travel, which is fantastic news.

Royal Air Maroc 787-9 business class

What are the implications of this?

American charges the following number of miles for travel between the US and Africa:

  • 40,000 AAdvantage miles one-way in economy
  • 75,000 AAdvantage miles one-way in business class

Meanwhile they charge the following number of miles for travel between the US and Europe:

  • 30,000 AAdvantage miles one-way in economy
  • 57,500 AAdvantage miles one-way in business class

Royal Air Maroc 787-8 business class

Not only that, but with Morocco now being in Europe, this means you could route from the US to Europe via Morocco, which is a great option given Morocco’s geography, as well as Royal Air Maroc’s network. Previously that wasn’t possible.

Similarly, this is great for those looking to redeem miles between Europe and Morocco:

  • One-way economy awards have gone from costing 30,000 miles to costing 12,500 miles
  • One-way business class awards have gone from costing 55,000 miles to costing 22,500 miles

Even though American is taking some liberties with geography, this ultimately makes sense:

  • A New York to Casablanca flight is basically the same distance as a New York to London flight
  • It doesn’t make sense that a New York to Casablanca award costs the same amount as a New York to Doha to Cape Town award

The only real downside here is that the cost of awards between Morocco and other points in Africa has just increased, if that’s the extent of your award. Within Africa:

  • One-way economy awards have gone from costing 17,500 miles to costing 30,000 miles
  • One-way business class awards have gone from costing 35,000 miles to costing 55,000 miles

Bottom line

This is a fantastic change on the part of AAdvantage, and makes it significantly more compelling to redeem AAdvantage miles on Royal Air Maroc. Not only does it lower the cost of awards, but this also means that you can route from the US to points in Europe via Morocco.

Well done, American!

(Tip of the hat to my awesome colleague Jordan)

Comments
  1. This is in fact HUGE news and might be the best news for Africa travelers in 2020 to 2022 now that Royal Air Maroc is part of OneWorld. For those of us hoarding AAdvantage miles to get to remote Africa destinations it’s really awesome.

    Stated differently, it somehow seemed kind of inevitable. Anyone who has ever taken EasyJet between UK and Morocco or Ryanair between Europe and Morocco for under $10 knows what I mean. The fact that Ryanair in 2020 had routes between so many European cities and Morocco brought Moroccan cities that much closer and lowering the old high-cost barrier of Africa travel has been great.

  2. Doesn’t this make N America to Africa awards more expensive? Couldn’t you have flown JFK-CMN-DKR as one N America to Africa award so long as CMN was Africa? Now, it would be two awards (N America-Europe and Europe-Africa), right?

    Or am I missing a nuance?

  3. @Ryan you don’t need two awards to transit Europe between N am and Africa, luckily—it’s one of the third region exceptions.

  4. @Ryan – Why would it be two awards? You could still fly JFK-CMN-DKR at the 40,000/75,000 rate because it’s priced on your final destination, regardless of whether CMN is considered Africa or Europe. It’s just like if you fly on BA from JFK-LHR-JNB you’re still getting charged the Africa rate, even though you’re routing through Europe, because your final destination is Africa.

  5. Beware of Royal Air Maroc’s on time record!!! Read the reviews. I knew two people flying out of BOS at different times around Xmas. The first flying to Algiers was late out of BOS and had to overnight in Casablanca because of a missed connection, and the second never made it out of BOS, since the flight was delayed and delayed and then canceled, and then the friend was rescheduled and the person missed the event in ALG.

  6. Beware, they have just accepted reality that many cities in France and Germany already resemble Morocco if you walk through the streets with open eyes.

  7. If you’re not a member of the Eurovision Song Contest or UEFA you’re not part of Europe (unlike Israel).

  8. Doesn’t this also mean you can’t use AA miles to redeem on Qatar or Etihad to go to Morocco? Although definitely more time wasted, but was one of the few destinations to take advantage of those great premium seats

  9. who has an idea on the fee AA will charge on RAM and the availability of b-class seats per flight?

  10. I have seen web sale prices to Morocco from 17,000 each way, the same price as Europe for a few months, so it seems thos has been in the works for awhile. Great news!

  11. @David
    Royal Air Maroc doesn’t fly to South Africa. I’d stay tuned for a new route announcement though (as it seems fairly logical they would add JNB or CPT fairly soon, coronavirus permitting of course).

  12. Morocco was already part of Europe/Middle East for the purposes of the onward Explorer awards so this move by AA is in line with that.

  13. @Max – although your characterization is absurd, even if it wasn’t then consider it consequence of exploitative colonialization (France) and getting your male workforce killed in a war you started (Germany).

    Back to reality:
    Great news! This definitely makes travel to Europe and Morocco both more attractive on AAdvantage.

    Was it even possible previously to use AAdvantage awards for intra-african travel? I see 3 possible flights, all of which are from South Africa…

  14. Probably the best AA and OW news in a long time as far as I am concerned.

    @ Max: Cute ! (and so true…)

  15. @Richard they did not make a racist comment about the people but simply pointed out an obvious reality about those countries. There has been significant migration from northern Africa into western Europe for several decades…it’s just a fact. But if you wish to see racism in everything then best of luck.

  16. @ABC but Morocco is a member of the European Broadcasting Union so is eligible to take part In Eurovision and has done done once in 1980.

  17. I’ll keep this in mind for 2023, when I might fly long haul again. Wasn’t impressed by Casablanca or Marrakech in 2019, but maybe another look post-Covid-19? If AA also survives.

  18. @IQ 0 – so other airlines don’t have delayed flights.?

    Yeah it’s annoying if people miss events etc but cancellations and delays are a fact of like.

  19. Soon Morocco and Spain
    Will build 2 tunnels for cars and trains distance is about 10 miles or so, bycicles and motobycks will be free to race as see teet dialy.
    Breakfast in Spain and lunch in Morocco.
    Cost 1 galon of ⛽ petrol for motobycks and cost for the bycicle, 1 kg of bananas and 2 litres of water done. ,

  20. what happens to my miles already earned with Royal Air Morocco in my Safarflyer Gold account and my family account?

  21. @Mohamed Amine, the changes outlined here have no impact whatsoever on your RAM frequent flyer account.

  22. @ Tim

    Racism is racism. They didn’t point out migration patterns. If they were, then they’d just be ignorant: most North Africans in France are Algerian as they were as much a part of the fourth French Republic as Paris. In Germany, people of color are overwhelmingly Turkish or Kurdish,
    not Magrebi.

    Those aren’t the points being made, though. It’s insidious right-wing, xenophobia about their previous white, colonial perfection being overrun buy Muslims. Everyone “that color” is the same thing, no bother to differentiate. If you don’t recognize the rhetoric of the contemporary nationalist right, you are a bigger danger than I am.

  23. Not that it bothers me in any way, but does it mean that an AAdvantage Award flight on AT betwen, say Casablanca and Dakar, will be invoiced at the “Europe to Africa” rate ?

  24. Uhh, this is terrible. AA desperately needed access to Africa. Their Africa chart has always been reasonably priced – in theory – except you could only use it on COMAIR for shorthaul flights WITH fuel surcharges. They finally get a damn African partner with a few routes and they immediately jack up the price of an intra-African flight? I don’t like it one bit.

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