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I’ve had surprising luck with business class award space crossing the Atlantic on a flight most people don’t think about, on an airline that’s not a member of any alliance (though they’re expected to join the Avios platform and thus be linked up with British Airways).
What I’m talking about is Royal Air Maroc which flies daily Casablanca to Montreal, offers two peak daily depaturture Casablanca – New York JFK, and flies 3 days a week non-stop Casablanca – Washington Dulles. In general I find they have good award availability, and I’ve had great luck on this DC flight.
There are (2) ways that many readers will be able to book awards on Royal Air Maroc between Casablanca, Morocco in North Africa and North America.
- American Express points transfer to Iberia, which is a Royal Air Maroc partner but awards are roundtrip only (94,500 miles roundtrip per person for business class). (If you have an Iberia account that’s been open 90 days and has had some activity you can also transfer British Airways Avios over to Iberia Avios.)
- American Express points, Starwood points, and Citibank points transfer to Etihad and Etihad is a Royal Air Maroc partner for less (44,000 miles each way per person for business class)
Space is only available as saver awards. Award space on the particular flight will either be available or it won’t be, and you cannot search the award space online.
I suggest calling Etihad Guest to see if awards are available and then transfer points. Etihad Guest agents aren’t super competent or knowledgeable about awards on their partners, so sometimes it takes more than one call. I’ve found the Manchester, UK call center (44 845 608 1225) to be best.
Fuel surcharges run $97 each way:
Royal Air Maroc flies 787s transatlantic and they offer a flat bed seat in business class. One Mile at a Time flew them in July and wrote that they exceeded his expectations, “I’d fly them in a heartbeat between the US and Morocco” though they don’t appear to be among the top carriers of the world.
Copyright: zhukovsky / 123RF Stock Photo
As Mel Brooks might have said in History of the World Part 2 if one of his characters booked frequent flyer award tickets, “No one ever suggests the Moroccan flight solution!”