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Sweet Spot Sunday: Fly to Morocco in business class for just 44,000 Etihad miles

May 22, 2022
6 min read
Business-class on Royal Air Maroc’s 787
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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 points.

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.

Better yet, Morocco recently started allowing tourists back into the country, making this sweet spot all the more useful.

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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 787-9 business class. (Photo by Brendan Dorsey/The Points Guy)

Royal Air Maroc offers nonstop flights to Casablanca (CMN) from Miami, New York and Washington, D.C. 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.

Etihad’s award chart for Royal Air Maroc awards (Screenshot courtesy of etihadguest.com)

Related: A review of Royal Air Maroc’s 787-9 in business from NYC to Casablanca

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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).

Related: The best websites for searching Oneworld award availability

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.

Related: 10 things to know before you go to Morocco

(Photo by ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com)

How to earn miles for this award

You can transfer points to Etihad Guest from four transferrable points currencies:

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:

Related: Why are transferable points worth more than other rewards?

Bottom line

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 image by (Photo by Brendan Dorsey/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
BEST FOR DINING AND GROCERY REWARDS
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.

    Earn 60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There’s a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It’s been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you’re hitting the skies soon, you’ll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there’s no reason that the foodie shouldn’t add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x).
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel.
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months.

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories.
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits.
  • Few travel perks and protections.