Royal Air Maroc has announced a new route three times per week beginning January 16, 2020 from Casablanca to Beijing, China. It is not yet bookable, but this is one to keep an eye out for since Etihad Guest has such a great award chart for travel on Royal Air Maroc, with business class itineraries covering greater than 2,000 miles costing 44,000 miles. This could become the best new sweet spot in award travel.
Sweet spot spotlight:
- The short story: Etihad Guest has a really favorable distance-based chart for travel on Royal Air Maroc and now Royal Air Maroc has announced a new route to the Far East from Casablanca to Beijing.
- Miles required: 44K one-way in business class for journeys of 2,001 miles or more. See the Etihad Guest award chart for travel on Royal Air Maroc here.
- How to find awards: Note that this flight is not yet on sale at the time of writing. You’ll have to keep your eye out for it to go on sale, then search for available space at www.royalairmaroc.com/us-en/ (you’ll need to create a free “Safar Flyer” frequent flyer account and then click link to “buy your ticket with miles” to log in and search for available award space)
- How to book awards: Book over the phone with Etihad Guest at 1-877-690-0767 (You’ll have to navigate a few phone prompts — see below for a rundown)
We have in the past covered the fact that Etihad Guest offers a fantastic sweet spot with Royal Air Maroc (See: Business class for 44K: pick from 3 continents [Sweet-spot spotlight]). The key highlight is that Etihad Guest charges 44K for itineraries of 2,001 miles or more on Royal Air Maroc. This means that it is currently possible to fly from a US gateway (like New York, Miami, Boston, or Washington) to anywhere Royal Air Maroc flies for 44K one way in business class. Since Etihad Guest is an Amex transfer partner, Citi transfer partner, and Capital One transfer partner, it’s pretty easy to put together the miles for an award.
When this flight to Beijing becomes bookable, I’d therefore expect it to be possible to book an award from the above North American cities to Beijing for just 44K miles one way in business class. Since Etihad maintains separate award charts for each partner, you won’t be able to mix partners to fly American to one of those gateways — you’ll need a separate positioning flight if your city is not served by Royal Air Maroc.
Additionally, Etihad does (at least theoretically) allow a stopover in Casablanca if you’d like to break up the trip (though I had trouble trying to book one, so YMMV). Whether or not they allow the stopover, 44K would be an incredible price for one-way business class to Asia. Keep in mind that you may be able to transit China visa-free for as long as 144 hours, but longer stays will require a Visa arranged in advance. If you’re interested in traveling to Beijing, do your research in advance to determine costs. When I last applied for a visa to visit China, the cost of a 10-year multi-entry visa was the same as for a single trip, so I was glad to get the 10-year visa.
Overall, this is a great new sweet spot if and when it becomes bookable. Royal Air Maroc will only be flying the route three times per week to start; as an award traveler I hope that the route works out well for them and they expand service in the future. I’m not sure how soon this will go on sale and/or how easy it will be to book it with Ethiad when it does go on sale, but it’ll be worth a phone call or two for sure.
H/T: One Mile at a Time