Royal Air Maroc recently joined the oneworld alliance. This means you can now (at least theoretically) redeem oneworld miles (like American Airlines miles) for travel on Royal Air Maroc. American airlines has changed their region definitions to now include Morocco in Europe and that’s potentially very good news for those looking to use miles to fly to Europe (and bad news for those who were looking to fly on an intra-African award). Overall, it’s probably a win for most members. Nobody knows when travel to Europe will again be possible / safe / advisable, but when it is there will be a new way to get there on American Airlines miles.
AA’s region-based award chart
American Airlines has a region-based award chart, with award pricing standardized between Region A and Region B. For the most part (with some exceptions), they do not allow transiting a third region on an award ticket. With Morocco previously in Africa, that would have meant award pricing of 40K each way in economy class or 75K each way in business class to fly from the US to Morocco on Royal Air Maroc (and a separate award required to continue on to Europe).
Now that American is classifying Morocco as part of Europe, award pricing from the US to Morocco or on to Europe from there will be:
- 30K miles each way in economy class
- 57.5K miles each way in business class
That’s potentially great news for those looking to book travel to/from Europe since Royal Air Maroc reaches a number of European cities. Previously, using AA miles to get to Europe in business class has been difficult given the ridiculous fuel surcharges of British Airways and generally abysmal partner award availability of Iberia, Finnair, and AA itself.
Royal Air Maroc has generally been pretty good about award availability for two passengers from its US gateways (New York, Boston, Washington DC, and Miami). Furthermore, it isn’t really out of the way on the way to Europe, so provided you were going to connect en route to your destination this probably won’t add much time to the trip. Their new business class looks pretty nice to me.
Downside: no cheap intra-Africa awards (though AA)
The downside here is that intra-Africa awards would have cost 35K miles each way in business class. That could have made for some decent deals, though I don’t think they fly many (any?) lie-flat routes within Africa.
Still, there are other region-based programs through which you could redeem for intra-Africa trips and distance-based charts may work out OK depending on where you’re looking to go, so I think the addition of a good value for business class to Europe remains a net win.
Flying Blue has also long considered Morocco as part of Europe, but American has obviously made this change thanks to the partnership with Royal Air Maroc. AA hasn’t been enamoring themselves to customers lately and this bit of good news will be too little too late for those with accounts that have been locked out or shut down in one way or another, but for many members this news is a net win.
H/T: One Mile at a Time