Sweet Spot Sunday: Fly to Morocco in business class for just 44,000 Etihad miles
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Sweet Spot Sunday is a weekly series highlighting the best-value award redemptions across loyalty programs.
Etihad Guest is a loyalty program that often flies under the radar for U.S.-based travelers. However, it offers a number of hidden gems, such as American Airlines flights at pre-devaluation levels. Plus, the program is a transfer partner of multiple transferrable currencies, including American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Miles and Citi ThankYou.
In this guide, we’re going to focus on one sweet spot: Royal Air Maroc business class flights from the U.S. to Morocco for just 44,000 miles each way. This is one of the cheapest ways to cross the Atlantic in business class with points and miles.
Why it’s special
While using miles for flights on Etihad’s own metal rarely results in good value, there are some valuable partner awards you can book for comparatively few miles, such as Royal Air Maroc business class.
Etihad Guest charges a flat 22,000 miles in economy class and just 44,000 miles in business class for all nonstop Royal Air Maroc flights over 2,000 miles in length. In other words, any of the carrier’s flights from the U.S. to Morocco. This is far cheaper than booking with other partners like American AAdvantage or British Airways Avios, which charge over 57,000 miles one-way in business class.
Royal Air Maroc offers nonstop flights to Casablanca (CMN) from New York-JFK and Washington, D.C. (IAD). It used to serve Boston (BOS) and Miami (MIA), but those routes were terminated due to the pandemic. If you’re looking to fly elsewhere in Europe, North Africa or the Middle East, you need to pay for the connecting segment based on its distance. On the flip side, the rates are still reasonable and you can add a free stopover in Morocco.
How to book this award
Unfortunately, these awards can’t be booked online, so you need to call Etihad Guest customer service to book them. That said, Etihad’s phone agents are usually easy to work with.
Step 1: Find award availability
You can search for Royal Air Maroc award availability online through its Oneworld partners like American Airlines. Simply head to aa.com, type in your itinerary and check off the “redeem miles” box. Any Royal Air Maroc award you see on American’s site should be bookable through Etihad Guest. Alternatively, you can search for award space and set availability alerts on ExpertFlyer (which is owned by TPG’s parent company, Red Ventures).
Step 2: Call Etihad Guest to book
Once you find availability, call (877) 690-0767 and work your way through the phone tree to the Etihad Guest menu. Provide them with your itinerary, including the flight numbers and departure times.
The agent will need to manually confirm the award space and go through the ticketing process, so the call should take around 20 minutes. They may request to call you back after they go through the process, but reports suggest that they call back within a reasonable time period.
While the taxes and fees on these awards are minimal, you’ll want to pay using a card like The Platinum Card® from American Express or Chase Sapphire Reserve so that you’re protected if something goes wrong during your trip. And before you get off the phone, ask for both the Etihad and Royal Air Maroc booking reference numbers.
How to earn miles for this award
You can transfer points to Etihad Guest from four transferrable points currencies:
- American Express Membership Rewards points at a 1:1 transfer ratio.
- Capital One miles at a 1:1 transfer ratio.
- Citi ThankYou points at a 1:1 transfer ratio.
- Marriott Bonvoy points at a 3:1 transfer ratio.
If you need to earn Etihad miles, consider adding a new travel rewards card to your wallet. Here are some of the top offers currently available:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first six months of card membership. Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases made at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S. (on up to $25,000 in combined eligible purchases) during the first six months of card membership.
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.
- Citi Premier® Card: Earn 80,000 ThankYou points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card: Earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points and a bonus free night award (redemption level worth up to 85,000 Marriott points) after you use your new card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership. Resort fees may apply. Offer expires 11/3/2021. ($450 annual fee, see rates and fees)
There are many different ways to cross the Atlantic using points and miles. However, booking Royal Air Maroc business class through Etihad Guest is one of the best value options. To make the most of your trip, be sure to check out our first-timer’s travel guide to Morocco.
For rates and fees of the Amex Marriott Brilliant card, click here.
Featured photo by Brendan Dorsey / The Points Guy
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