It’s been a great week for Royal Air Maroc (RAM)!
First, they announced they would be joining oneworld alliance in 2020. Today marked another historic moment as RAM announced they had taken delivery of their first Boeing 787-9. Additionally, via their Instagram page, RAM revealed the very first 787-9 would receive a very special livery and all of the 787-9’s would have a new business class configuration (full flat, direct aisle access, B/E Aerospace Super Diamond seats – to be exact). Take a look…
Even economy looks good…
THAT’S GREAT BUT THAT’S NOT ALL
I have traveled to Morocco previously and it’s an fascinating country. In hindsight, I wish that I had scheduled time to see more of the country. Now, I have even more reason to schedule a return trip.
You may recall, yesterday, I wrote that I was extremely excited about these developments but had omitted a critical piece to the story.
RAM, recently, landed on my radar because I am always searching for ways to maximize my points / miles. Its rare that I travel without my family these days so points are burned at a astronomical rate thus my desire to find a balance between quality and quantity.
Yesterday, I mentioned that “at the current AAdvantage Oneworld award chart levels, you would pay 40,000 one-way in economy and 75,000 miles one-way in business class.”
Interestingly, RAM also partners with Etihad Airways and offers a redemption that is worth considering. Below is the Etihad Guest award chart for travel on RAM…
As you can see from the chart, a one-way redemption that covers a distance 2001 miles or more will cost you 44,000 Etihad miles for a business class ticket.
Just so we’re clear to this point…we’re using Etihad miles to fly on RAM airplanes and are only limited by where RAM flies. Sounds good, right? Well, it gets even better…let’s take a look at the where RAM flies…
WAIT…ARE YOU SAYING WHAT I THINK YOU’RE SAYING?
Yup! Grab the kids, were sitting up front!
- Washington DC – Casablanca = 44k
- Washington DC – Casablanca – Nairobi, Kenya = 44k
- Montreal – Casablanca – Paris, France = 44k
- Washington DC – Casablanca – Doha, Qatar = 44k
- New York – Casablanca – Sao Paulo, Brazil = 44k (Yes, it’s a round-about way of arriving in Brazil but I’m sure someone will book it.)
RAM has not updated their destination map yet but they will begin servicing Miami (MIA) and Boston (BOS) in April and July 2019, respectively.
Pick a combination and go for it!!
HOW DO I GET ETIHAD MILES?
It’s pretty easy because Etihad Guest is a transfer partner with Amex Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou, Barclays, and Marriott Rewards.
HOW DO I BOOK THIS TICKET?
You have two options…
- You can call Etihad (877-690-0767) and ask them to price out a specific fight
- You can sign up for RAM’s frequently flyer program (SAFAR Flyer account) on their website and search for availability there.
The second option SOUNDS like a better choice but I would definitely advise against this pick. RAM’s website is horrible! I couldn’t sign up for an account because it repeatedly asked me to fill in my home country but there were no options to select and it would not allow me to type it in. Save yourself some time and call Etihad to book it.
WHAT IS AWARD AVAILABILITY LIKE?
I assume that when most people consider an award redemption, a west African carrier that currently flies to only 3 cities cities in the United States isn’t the first carrier to come to mind so availability is good (at least for two people).
TWO CAVEATS – STOPOVERS & FEES
Let’s start with the easiest…stopovers are not allowed on these awards. Sorry.
And fees…this is where it can get tricky. With award tickets, there are always taxes/fees to pay, even if they are minimal. Sometimes, they are ridiculously expensive or they are, literally, a few dollars.
You have to determine what’s more important to you…pay more miles & minimal cash or pay less miles and more cash.
Using Etihad Miles to fly one-way in RAM Business class should cost no more than 44k miles. In my research I found the New York to Casablanca segment to cost about $140 and the Casablanca to New York route to cost about $200 but you can call Etihad and confirm the costs.
I’ve also had mixed experiences with Etihad call center. Some of them are good, and some of them….well…could use a bit more training. If you get an agent that can’t find availability, that’s red flag. Thank them for their time, hang up and call back.
A brand new plane, fantastic new livery, good availability for business class awards with miles that I already have? What more can you ask for!? I love a redemption like this because it offers great value for a flat-bed, transatlantic flight to Europe, the Middle East, and other parts of Africa.
p.s. Etihad infant-in-arms (lap child) award tickets on Royal Air Maroc cost 10% of the miles of the adult itinerary. <—-Family travel is important to me so I always research this aspect.
Who’s interested in traveling to Morocco? Who is interested in traveling beyond Morocco? Who is interested in eating phenomenal Morocacan food and then taking a nap in those beautiful, lie-flat, purple business class seats?