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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Here is a route map which is slightly out of date (the Boston route is missing for a start) but is the current one on their website.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.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (May 2022)

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

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards. You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

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

The Platinum Card has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 60,000 Avios, if you apply by 1st June 2022.

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 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 (SPECIAL OFFER) and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,000 Avios.

Capital on Tap Visa card

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa 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 and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

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

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year 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)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • BP says:

    It’s Alaska Airlines not Alaska Airways.

  • Mikeact says:

    Any recommended connections to go on to Cape Town ,Durban or Johannesburg?

  • Alan Robertson says:

    I regret Ougadougou has to stay on the pending file for UK residents. ‘All but essential travel’ within city boundary and NO travel to remainder of Burkina Faso 🇧🇫
    Like it’s neighbouring countries, badly affected by ISIS type terrorism.
    One of my friends worked there 20 years ago, loved the country, loved the people

  • Lumma says:

    Anyone know which way the water goes in the toilets in Ouagadougou?

    • marcw says:

      The same as in Europe. It’s still northern hemisphere.

    • mvcvz says:

      Downwards I sincerely hope.

    • Dave says:

      What does this mean?

      • Rob says:

        In the Southern hemisphere, the water swirls in the other direction when going down a plughole or loo.

        • Alex Sm says:

          It’s a Sydney urban legend

        • Dave says:

          Thank you. Shamefully says I’ve never noticed this… 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️

          • Nick says:

            It’s not true anyway. There’s an episode of QI where it’s thoroughly debunked.

        • Doug M says:

          Except in the USA embassy where a device forces it to swirl the correct way. Classic Simpsons.

  • Johndoe says:

    Racial undertones to the ogadougo article.

    Not impressed.

    • mvcvz says:

      Get a life.

    • Andrew says:

      Are there?

      I can’t get Black Lace’s song with a near rhyming title out of my head now though.

      Oh wait, it’s morphed into something by Fluck and Law!

      Hold a…

  • ankomonkey says:

    Star Alliance Africa members also include Egypt Air. Ra will be most upset (can’t you tell I’m home-schooling and one of my kids is studying ancient Egypt?)…

    • marcw says:

      I’m sure someone will come with the excuse that Egypt is Middle East. This is correct culturally, but geographically, it’s Africa.

      • Bob Sopel says:

        Try telling an Egyptian that their African. They are all convinced they are a separate entity.

  • Justin says:

    Surely it has to be Ouagadougou Ouagadougou to make sure it’s the real one?

    Are RAM going to be adding BA flight codes to the Gibraltar Tangiers Casablanca flights?

    • Isherwood says:

      My first thought as well when I read the headline. Thank God for the radio comedy gold which is Cabin Pressure and the brilliant writing of Mr Finnemore. If you don’t know this series then there are episodes to stream on audible. We play all the episodes on a loop in the car – the kids insist on it!

  • Brian says:

    I’ve been to Ougadougou back in 2003 ! Had to fly a very interesting charter flight called Pont Afrique from Paris. One of the highlights was feeding chickens to crocodiles 🙂 !

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