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Who wants to go to Ouagadougou? Royal Air Maroc is now in oneworld and an Avios partner

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Who wants to go to Ouagadougou?  If it’s on your bucket list, you can now fly there with Avios.

Royal Air Maroc joined the oneworld alliance on 1st April.  Unsurprisingly, given that the airline has currently grounded its entire fleet, it was a very low key event.

This is a more significant move than you might think.  Royal Air Maroc opens up a lot of new Avios options in Africa.  oneworld has, to date, been lacking a full member in Africa, putting it at a disadvantage vs SkyTeam (Kenya Airways) and Star Alliance (Ethiopian Airlines and South African).

Royal Air Maroc Express, the regional subsidiary, will become an affiliate member of oneworld.

oneworld airlines

Which airlines are in the oneworld alliance?

oneworld now has 13 full members.  As well as British Airways, the other airlines involved, on which you can already earn and spend Avios, are:  American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian, S7 Airlines and Sri Lankan Airlines.  Fiji Airlines is a looser ‘oneworld connect’ member.

(For the next four weeks there are still 14 members, as LATAM does not leave until 30th April.)

Alaska Airlines is due to replace LATAM as the 14th member at some point.

It remains to be seen if Air Europa will become a full member if – and this is now a big ‘if’ – the acquisition by IAG still goes ahead.  It is also possible that Aer Lingus seeks to become a full member at some point.

Where can you redeem Avios on Royal Air Maroc?

Royal Air Maroc has a bigger network than you might think.  It flies to 100 cities in 49 countries.  Impressively, 21 of these countries currently have no oneworld flights at all.

Here is a route map which is slightly out of date (the Boston route is missing for a start) but is the current one on their website.  It shows where Royal Air Maroc flies from its Casablanca base – click to enlarge:

Royal Air Maroc route map

Here are a few things you can now do on Royal Air Maroc when it starts operating again:

Fly direct from Manchester to Casablanca (Summer only)

Fly direct from London Heathrow and London Gatwick to Casablanca (British Airways does not fly to Casablanca so this is a new Avios option)

Fly from Casablanca to five North American cities – Boston, Miami, Montreal, New York, Washington

Fly from Casablanca to Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Beijing, Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Dubai

Fly from Casablanca to a very wide range of African cities – see the map above

What does Royal Air Maroc fly?

It is 20 years since I flew with RAM, but the fleet looks impressive on paper.  The long-haul fleet is primarily brand new Boeing 787 aircraft, with fully flat beds in Business Class.

Here’s the real treat though:  looking at this review here, short-haul Business Class has ‘proper’ seating.  It is a 2 x 2 layout, as opposed to the ‘3 x 3 with a blocked middle seat’ approach taken by the European carriers.

This could mean a very relaxing trip from London or Manchester to Casablanca if you want a weekend away with a difference.

Note that Royal Air Maroc uses Heathrow Terminal 4.

Would you really want to fly long haul via Casablanca?

On the face of it, it seems unlikely that you’d want to divert via Casablanca to get to New York!  It is slightly less of a diversion to Rio, Sao Paulo etc.

There are two scenarios under which this might work:

on cash tickets, if Royal Air Maroc had good Business Class sale fares.  You would earn 80 + 140 + 140 + 80 = 440 tier points return on most routes from London or Manchester via Casablanca.

on Avios tickets, IF taxes and charges are very low – we don’t know this yet as reward flights are not yet loaded

When does Royal Air Maroc join oneworld?

How many Avios will I earn on Royal Air Maroc?

British Airways has already updated ba.com with the earning rates for Royal Air Maroc flights.

Click for the airline partners page and scroll down to the Royal Air Maroc section.

Here is the key information from that page:

Minimum Avios:  No
Avios tier bonus?  No
Collect Tier Points?  Yes

Avios awarded (percentage of flown miles)
Economy lowest (W, P, G) 25%
Economy low (K, M, L, V, S, N, Q, O, T, R) 50%
Economy flexible (Y, B, H) 100%
Business flexible (J, C, D, I) 125%

It is exactly as expected.  Your earn Avios and British Airways Executive Club tier points.  You do not get an Avios bonus if you have Gold, Silver or Bronze status – this is usually reserved for IAG-owned airlines and those with whom British Airways has joint venture agreements.

How many British Airways tier points will I earn on Royal Air Maroc?

RAM has also been added to the British Airways Avios and Tier Point Calculator.

The good news is that London / Manchester to Casablanca shows as 80 tier points each way in Business Class.  This means that a short break would get you 160 tier points return.

(You would not normally earn 80 tier points on a oneworld partner flight – the usual rule is 40 tier points for business class flights under 2,000 miles and 140 tier points for flights over 2,000 miles.  This is an exception due to the British Airways codeshare arrangement with Royal Air Maroc.  For clarity, you don’t need to book under the BA codeshare to get 80 tier points.)

More interestingly, Stockholm to Casablanca is 140 tier points each way in Business Class as it is over 2,000 miles.  Istanbul to Casablanca is also 140 tier points.

You could, in theory, book yourself London to Istanbul return for 160 tier points, nest an Istanbul to Casablanca return for 280 tier points, and pick up 440 tier points from a short break.

Royal Air Maroc is not known as a cheap carrier, however, due to the lack of competition flying to Casablanca.  I’m not sure that the prospects for good value tier point runs are so good in reality

What are the taxes on Avios redemptions?

We don’t know.  Unfortunately, Avios redemptions have not yet been added into the BA system.

You can work out the number of Avios required for any particular route by looking at the mileage-based chart for British Airways partner redemptions which is in this article.

Our beginner’s guide to redeeming Avios points here includes the Avios ‘price list’ for partner airlines.

Conclusion

Overall, Royal Air Maroc is a good addition to oneworld and adds some valuable new destinations to the network.  Hopefully we can try out London to Casablanca at some point later this year.

You can find out more about Royal Air Maroc on its website here.

PS. Ouagadougou is the capital of Burkina Faso, and is one of the new destinations now added to the oneworld map.


British Airways BA Amex American Express

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards. Both have increased sign-up bonuses until 2nd November 2021:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

The 30,000 points bonus on Amex Gold runs to 9th November 2021. The 60,000 points bonus on The Platinum Card runs to 2nd November 2021.

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies. This card has a limited time offer of 60,000 Avios when you sign up:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (54)

  • Alex says:

    Actually the QR lounge is open to any oneworld first or business class passenger (provided that flight leaves from T4, of course). It is economy status passengers who cannot enter. Other OW premium is fine.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      I was going to say I thought you had to be an actual premium customer to use it.

      RAM business to Casablanca could be a nice trip if the onboard product is actually proper business on every aircraft.

      • Chabuddy geezy says:

        You could also use the Malaysia Airlines lounge instead of the SkyTeam lounge.

  • Gavin says:

    Burkina Faso was formerly Upper Volta?

  • Grounded says:

    Status passengers in T4 could use the Malaysia Airlines first and business class lounges?

    • R_B says:

      Yes exactly. Poor journalism by HfP.

      • Rob says:

        Will fix. RAM website said SkyTeam but not updated clearly.

        • Alex Sm says:

          But even if it’s Sky Team only, what’s wrong with that one? Your own review a year ago or so concluded that it’s a very quiet and spacious lounge when you can rest properly before the flight without hustle bustle of other lounges and queues for food.

          • Polly says:

            Sky team always worked for us on our qr bah regular back and forth trips. Used to offer nice massages too. Food always good. Quite spacious.

  • DS says:

    Ouagadougou (and btw you have misspelled it , there’s an “a” missing).
    A well-known destination, together with Antananarivo, Xiamen, and Paramaribo, for people who keep track on Flying Blue Promow Awards. All of which appear frequently and typically the only ones
    50% off in Business.

  • Mike P says:

    If we are being pedantic, it’s Stelios’ family,,,,

    • John says:

      Both are acceptable nowadays.

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      I’m not sure highlighting the incorrect spelling of a city or a name is pedantic.

    • Dino says:

      Oh dear. Tried to be smart but backfired badly.
      When will people realise that positive feedback is good thing!

  • Graeme says:

    I travel London to Casablanca on RAM quite frequently, usually in economy and occasionally in business whenever I’ve collected enough RAM Safar Flyer points to upgrade myself. As the article says, business class is very pleasant, (although usually cash prices are the best part of £1,000 return booking 2-3 weeks out). Economy is fine, apart from dire food (although to be fair at least a hot meal & drink are included in the price), usually around £400 return. The big drawback is Mohammed V airport in Casablanca – often a queue of an hour at immigration on entry, and up to two hours for security and passport check on the way out if you don’t have fast track access. I’m not sure what it’s like if you’re just transiting. And Casablanca has very little to recommend it as a tourist destination, although now that it has a Four Seasons hotel you could probably manage to entertain yourself comfortably for 48 hours without running out of things to do.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Having been to Marrakesh (admittedly before the new terminal) I was going to ask is Casablanca as much of a mess. The OMAAT line suggests it also has a newer terminal which isn’t so bad either.

      In Marrakesh they offer fast track for as little as £30 each anyone know the cost here?

      • Graeme says:

        The problem comes from the fact that a large proportion of RAM flights depart between mid-morning and early afternoon, which overwhelms the number of security lanes and passport desks. And despite the terminals being connected airside, you’re not allowed to go through the virtually empty lanes in the other terminal (I’ve tried). But other than security & passport control the terminal is quite pleasant. Its’s bright and airy, the RAM lounge is comfortable, as is the Priority Pass lounge (if a bit crowded at times), and there are plenty of places to eat and shop.

        • Alex Sm says:

          are there any airports in the world where this is allowed? SVO in Moscow is the same but they never allow you to use a ‘wrong’ terminal as your checkin might now work (and luggage could be lost – who wants to be liable for that?)

          • Nick says:

            DFW – all terminals are connected airside, and you can use security in any of them. For AA you can use check in and lounges in any terminal they have it, again regardless of which one you’re departing from. ISTR LAX is the same, but it’s been a while since I’ve been there.

          • Alex Sm says:

            @Nick OMG, LAX… My partner and I checked in and cleared security at T7 and then went to the Star Alliance lounge airside to T1, had a couple of drinks and started our walk back, took a wrong turn and exited the airport! Panicked and barely managed to clear security again to get back to T7 – fortunately our ET flight was delayed!

    • Peter says:

      Having done the Casablanca passport and security checks with an acute stomach bug, I vividly remember the 2-hour queue for passport control, and vowed never to go through CMN again until this is solved. RAK, on the other hand, is much more pleasant since the new terminal building.

      • Heathrow Flyer says:

        Ah, Morocco and an acute stomach bug.

        Some things just go together.

  • Joe says:

    I’ve actually been to Ouagadougou a couple of times, not that there’s much there for a tourist…

    Hopefully the airport lounge has been upgraded in the five years since I’ve last been there!

  • John says:

    Just remember that French ou is /u/, so a spelling in English orthography would be Wagadugu.

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