While Alaska Airlines joined the oneworld alliance as of March 2021, the airline hasn’t yet rolled out award redemptions on all oneworld partners. For now the airline is maintaining separate award charts for each airline partner, and redemptions are slowly being added. In recent months we’ve seen Alaska add awards on Iberia and Qatar Airways, and we can now add another redemption partner to the list — Royal Air Maroc.
Mileage Plan redemption rates on Royal Air Maroc
Alaska Mileage Plan has quietly added Royal Air Maroc as an award redemption partner. For those not familiar, Royal Air Maroc is Morocco’s national carrier, and has a fleet of just over 50 aircraft. The airline primarily operates flights within Africa, and to Europe, the Middle East, and North America (United States destinations include Miami, New York, and Washington).
Here are the Alaska Mileage Plan saver level one-way award costs for travel on Royal Air Maroc in eligible regions:
- North America to Africa costs 50,000 miles in economy, 100,000 miles in business class
- North America to Europe costs 60,000 miles in economy, 120,000 miles in business class
- North America to Middle East costs 65,000 miles in economy, 150,000 miles in business class
- Africa to Europe costs 17,500 miles in economy, 35,000 miles in business class
- Africa to Middle East costs 32,500 miles in economy, 70,000 miles in business class
- Africa to Africa costs 20,000 miles in economy, 45,000 miles in business class
A couple of further things to note:
- When traveling long haul between regions, stopovers in Morocco are allowed
- There are no fuel surcharges on Royal Air Maroc award redemptions
These redemption rates are spectacularly bad
Let’s first talk specifically about these redemption rates — they’re simply awful. Keep in mind Morocco isn’t very far from the United States, so a New York to Casablanca flight takes just over six hours (similar to a New York to London flight).
100,000 miles for a one-way business class ticket from the United States to Morocco, seriously? And then if you want to tag on a flight to Europe (which in some cases is just an hour or two), that bumps the price to 120,000 miles one-way?
Keep in mind that you can also redeem American AAdvantage miles for travel on Royal Air Maroc, and the one-way prices are significantly lower. You can fly business class from the United States to Morocco or Europe for just 57,500 miles (vs. 100,000-125,000 miles). The difference here is massive.
And this gets at a bigger issue with Alaska Mileage Plan — it’s time for me to downgrade my valuation of these miles. Alaska has some incredible niche redemption opportunities, including on Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Qantas, etc. The premium cabin redemption rates are the best in the industry, and on top of that you can have free stopovers.
Unfortunately those redemptions are largely off bounds. I’m not confident I’ll be able to enter Hong Kong in the next decade without an extended quarantine, and Japan and Australia remain closed to foreigners without quarantine (though I expect this will change in the coming months).
More importantly, for all the redemptions we’ve recently seen added (including on Iberia, Qatar Airways, and Royal Air Maroc), redemption rates have been significantly worse than through American AAdvantage. In some cases the math could still work out for those who really value a stopover, but Alaska Mileage Plan simply isn’t the slam dunk program that it used to be in terms of value.
The pricing imbalance of Mileage Plan is simply puzzling nowadays. You could fly one-way first class on Cathay Pacific from the United States to Asia for just 70,000 miles, less than half of the cost of a one-way Royal Air Maroc business class award from the United States to the Middle East.
While I love the Mileage Plan program in general and respect how the airline hasn’t followed peers to a full revenue based program, at this point the pricing needs a reality check, in my opinion.
Alaska Mileage Plan has added awards on Royal Air Maroc, and these flights can be booked on alaskaair.com. While it’s great to see Alaska continuing to add oneworld partner redemptions, the value proposition here is horrible, and that’s concerning.
While Mileage Plan has some incredible award pricing for its oldest airline partners, all the additions we’ve seen recently haven’t had good pricing at all. That doesn’t make me confident about the program’s future pricing.
What do you make of Alaska’s redemption rates on Royal Air Maroc?