More trouble than it’s worth? Morocco is open again for travelers from 60+ countries

Sep 15, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

As the travel industry reopens following COVID-19 shutdowns, TPG suggests that you talk to your doctor, follow health officials’ guidance and research local travel restrictions before booking that next trip. We will be here to help you prepare, whether it is next month or next year.

U.S. travelers can enter Morocco as of Sept. 6 — but there are a lot of reasons why you might not want to.

Sign up for TPG’s daily newsletter

The north African country is reopening its borders to travelers from more than 60 countries, including the United States. However, Morocco remains under a health state of emergency until Oct. 10 which involves strict curfews in some areas, as well as letters of permission issued by local authorities.

Related: Where can Americans travel right now?

In This Post

What you need to know

The Western Kingdom, as Morocco was once called, extended its COVID-19 related state of emergency through September 10, 2020. The policy kept foreigners out for several months, although residents were allowed to travel between states with restrictions.

Related: Welcome to Africa? A country-by-country guide to reopening

Now, U.S. travelers who hold confirmed hotel or travel agency reservations are allowed to enter for 90 days without a visa, and all incoming travelers must produce a negative PCR COVID-19 test dated within 48 hours of departure, or a serological test which can be dated outside of the 48-hour window. Face masks are required throughout the flight, and travelers must obey all posted guidelines for COVID-19 regulation.

Domestic travel between the cities of Berrechid, Casablanca, Fes, Marrakech, Mekes, Settat, Tangier and Tetouan requires a travel authorization letter from local authorities — a hotel reservation in another city qualifies as sufficient reason to obtain a travel authorization.

The city of Casblanca has strict curfews in place:

  • Everyone must stay indoors between 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Travelers entering or departing the city limits must have a letter of permission from Moroccan authorities
  • Local markets must close by 3 p.m.
  • Cafes and shops are required to close by 8 p.m.
  • Restaurants must close by 9 p.m.

Flights and hotels

Moroccan airline Royal Air Maroc has been flying repatriation flights since mid-July, when Moroccan citizens were finally allowed to return home after a strict lockdown left even nationals stranded outside country borders. Other special flights enter and depart Moroccan air space, but all regularly scheduled commercial flights to and from Morocco remain suspended at this time, as do ferries from Spain, according to the U.S. Embassy.

Related: A worldwide guide to country reopenings

Emirates will begin operating flights into Morocco on Sept. 18, according to Middle East publication The National.

Flights to both Marrakech and Casablanca are quite discounted this year, compared to the norm. Flights that were between $800 to $900 round trip last year are now as low as $533 for early November routes with long layovers or two stops, or just over $600 round trip for decent routes with one stop and a short layover from major airport hubs such as Newark or Los Angeles via Star Alliance or SkyTeam airlines.

Alternatively, you can fly nonstop from New York (JFK) to Casablanca (CMN) on Royal Air Maroc/American metal through Oneworld for just under $800, or 45,000 miles and $60 round trip.

Royal Air Maroc isn’t a favorite with most TPG staffers for outdated aircraft, poor-quality food and “atrocious” service, according to TPG’s aviation queen, Benét Wilson. However, the Morocco flagship airline became Oneworld’s first African member earlier this year, which means that you can use your American AAdvantage miles toward award flights on this carrier, or earn AA miles when flying Royal Air Maroc. And for a nonstop flight, it just might be worth the discomfort in order to get to your destination with less stops.

Speaking of award travel, flights are available to Morocco from 80,000 miles and around $100 in fees via United. Delta offers a better deal: Just 50,000 SkyMiles and $111 round trip on Air France metal in November 2020.

Your money (or points) go a long way in Morocco. lists nearly 2,000 properties available in Marrakech in November, from five-star riads to the Four Seasons Resort Marrakech. Rooms at the five-star Riad Itrane start at just $95 per night in November.

If you prefer award redemptions from major chains, your options are a bit limited in Morocco. Marriott fans can enjoy a Le Méridien experience for just 12,500 Bonvoy points or $113 per night at the Category 2 Le Méridien N’Fis in Marrakech. The Hyatt Place Taghazout Bay in Agadir is a Category 2 property, with rooms from $96 or 8,000 World of Hyatt points per night. Hilton fans have a few options in Tangier to choose from, all hovering around the $110 nightly mark.

Bottom line

Morocco is a gorgeous place to visit, but the present time may not be the best way to experience this country.

Featured photo by Benét J. Wilson/The Points Guy.





Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.