In this post I wanted to take a look at award availability on Royal Air Maroc. Morocco has been an increasingly hot travel destination in recent years, and on top of that Royal Air Maroc has joined the oneworld alliance, so what’s the best way to redeem miles on the airline?
Basics of redeeming miles on Royal Air Maroc
First let’s discuss some of the basics of flying with Royal Air Maroc in business class, including what the carrier’s inflight experience is like, what routes the airline flies, and what award availability is like.
Royal Air Maroc’s business class product
Royal Air Maroc flies Boeing 787s on long haul flights, and the airline has both 787-8s and 787-9s. These planes have two different kinds of inflight products.
Royal Air Maroc’s 787-8s have fully flat business class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration. It’s an odd configuration, but still good when you consider how short the flights are.
Royal Air Maroc’s 787-9s have fully flat business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. Specifically, the airline has reverse herringbone seats, so this is an excellent product, and I’d seek out this plane if possible.
All around I find Royal Air Maroc’s service to be friendly, and the carrier’s food is pretty good as well.
If you’re connecting on Royal Air Maroc to Europe or another destination, there’s another cool thing to be aware of. Royal Air Maroc’s 737s feature proper business class seats, similar to what you’d find in domestic first class within the United States.
This is much better than what you’d usually have access to on an intra-Europe flight, for example, where business class is just economy with a blocked middle seat. In many cases Royal Air Maroc is a comfortable way to get to Europe as well.
Royal Air Maroc’s routes
As far as transatlantic routes go, Royal Air Maroc flies from Casablanca (CMN) to the following destinations:
- Miami (MIA)
- Montreal (YUL)
- New York (JFK)
- Washington (IAD)
While the airline used to fly to Boston (BOS), that route was suspended during the pandemic, and hasn’t been resumed.
I think it’s important to mention one major catch with traveling on Royal Air Maroc if you’re looking to visit Morocco. Most tourists to Morocco want to visit Marrakech (RAK), yet all of Royal Air Maroc’s long haul flights are to Casablanca, meaning a connecting flight is needed.
The reality is that for many people, this will minimize the appeal of flying with Royal Air Maroc. There are all kinds of airlines offering one-stop service from North America to Marrakech (Air France, British Airways, Iberia, Lufthansa, SWISS, etc.), so there’s no real reason to choose Royal Air Maroc over another airline.
For what it’s worth, Royal Air Maroc has a much more extensive route network within Africa, and to Europe.
Royal Air Maroc’s business class award trends
Royal Air Maroc is pretty inconsistent when it comes to making award seats available. The best place to search Royal Air Maroc award space is through American Airlines’ website, aa.com. Just search any nonstop Royal Air Maroc city pair (like JFK to CMN).
When you get to the search results, select the “Calendar” option. Once you see the calendar, select “Nonstop only” and “Business / First,” and then you’ll see all the dates that have nonstop award availability. You can’t beat being able to search an entire year of availability this way in about a minute.
- Royal Air Maroc releases award space in spurts, so sometimes you may see a ton of award space, while other times you won’t
- More often than not, the airline releases up to one business class award seat per flight, so it can be tough to find multiple seats
- Award availability tends to be best in summer, when it’s also the hottest in Morocco
The best programs for booking Royal Air Maroc business class
What are the best programs for booking Royal Air Maroc business class awards? Let me share a few popular options, ranked roughly based on the overall value offered.
I’d argue booking Royal Air Maroc awards through American AAdvantage represent the best value:
- Awards can be booked directly online, on aa.com
- There are no carrier imposed surcharges on these Royal Air Maroc awards, so you’ll just pay whatever the taxes are
- There are no change or redeposit fees if you need to cancel your award
- American AAdvantage considers Morocco to be part of Europe for the purposes of awards, meaning you can redeem just 57,500 AAdvantage miles for a one-way business class ticket
- You can also fly Royal Air Maroc from the United States to Europe via Morocco, which could be a fun way to fly, given Royal Air Maroc’s good short haul product
- If you want to connect in Morocco to travel elsewhere in Africa, you can expect to pay a total of 75,000 AAdvantage miles for one-way business class
While Etihad isn’t in the oneworld alliance, Etihad Guest has a great partnership with Royal Air Maroc. You can find the Etihad Guest award chart for travel on Royal Air Maroc below.
The above pricing is one-way and per segment, meaning that if you have multiple segments, the pricing is additive. As you can see, a nonstop business class segment of over 2,001 miles (covering all long haul routes) would cost 44,000 Etihad Guest miles, which is quite a good deal.
If redeeming Etihad Guest miles on Royal Air Maroc, there are some things to be aware of:
- You need to book by phone, by calling Etihad Guest, which can be reached at 877-690-0767; that can be a rather time consuming adventure
- There are carrier imposed surcharges when booking through Etihad Guest, which would currently run you $186 one-way
- This is ideal if traveling to or from Casablanca, given that this is Royal Air Maroc’s long haul gateway
- This is valuable if you have transferable points currencies, since Etihad Guest is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One, and Citi ThankYou
- You can change your itinerary for a fee of 100 AED (~$27), or you can redeposit an award up to 24 hours in advance for a fee equal to 10% of the miles redeemed
British Airways Executive Club
British Airways Executive Club has a distance based award chart, and a single segment covering a distance of 3,001-4,000 miles one-way will cost you 60,000 Avios in business class. I’d generally say Etihad Guest is a better value here, especially since British Airways also passes on carrier imposed surcharges.
Furthermore, at the moment British Airways Executive Club seems to have an issue with accessing Royal Air Maroc awards, as they’re not bookable on ba.com, for whatever reason. Hopefully that’s fixed soon.
Alaska Mileage Plan
Alaska Mileage Plan added redemptions on Royal Air Maroc in early 2022, and unfortunately it’s not a particularly good value. Specifically, you’ll pay 100,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles for a one-way business class ticket between the United States and Africa.
I’d really only consider booking through Alaska Mileage Plan if you’re looking to connect onward to elsewhere in Africa, while also having a stopover in Morocco. Alaska Mileage Plan allows stopovers on awards, which is the main advantage of the program.
Other than that, I’d much rather use American AAdvantage or Etihad Guest miles. There are better uses of Alaska Mileage Plan miles.
Royal Air Maroc is now a member of oneworld, so there are lots of options for redeeming miles on the airline. While I wouldn’t consider there to be some huge sweet spot opportunity, I’d generally recommend booking these awards through either American AAdvantage or Etihad Guest.
American AAdvantage is great for the very reasonable pricing, while Etihad Guest is great for getting you access to these awards through transferable points currencies.
Just keep in mind that if you’re traveling to Marrakech, there’s not a real advantage of traveling with Royal Air Maroc over another airline that offers one-stop service.
If you’ve redeemed miles on Royal Air Maroc, what was your experience like?