Etihad Guest Reportedly Doubled the Price of Some Royal Air Maroc Awards

For some time I’ve considered Etihad’s 44,000 mile one way business class award on Royal Air Maroc to be one of the 10 best deals in all of travel.


Copyright: zhukovsky / 123RF Stock Photo

Historically you’ve been able to book any one way trip at this price. So you could fly New York to Casablanca and beyond for 44,000 miles in business class. Some people have claimed to even get free stopovers in Casablanca though I have never managed to do this successfully. It always broke the trip and Etihad wanted to charge separately for each segment at that point, even though the terms say “Stopovers are permitted.”

I’ve seen several reports over the past week that Etihad agents are now charging separately for each segment even without a stopover – that instead of charging 44,000 miles for a one way journey over 2000 miles, they are charging each flight based on the distance of the flight.

DISTANCE TRAVELLED ECONOMY CLASS BUSINESS CLASS
0 – 1000 6000 12000
1001 – 1500 10000 20000
1501 – 2000 15000 30000
2001 and above 22000 44000

The award chart clearly says these prices are “for one-way journeys only” and not per segment but people are being charged separately for each segment. That means it’ll be possible for some Royal Air Maroc business class awards to have gone from 44,000 miles one way to 88,000 miles one way.

Ryan S. writes about being quoted a higher price than expected, but in one case convincing the agent to charge the old price based on website verbiage. Meanwhile he was told,

  • That pricing per segment is based on a recent email from the Etihad Guest program to agents
  • The website will be updated to reflect this soon

If this is correct it’s troubling, but nothing new for Etihad Guest. This isn’t just a devaluation without notice it’s a devaluation contrary to notice considering they’re charging more than what their website says to expect.

When Etihad devalued partner awards on Brussels Airlines there was no advance notice for the change either.

Etihad Guest offers some fantastic award values, they’re a useful transfer partner, but they’re not a place where I’d park points because I believe they’ve demonstrated themselves to be untrustworthy as a store of value.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Thankfully never transferred points to this customer unfriendly progrma. Next on Etihad’s hit list is the Czech airlines flight from PRG to ICN…

  2. I can confirm that a booking two weeks ago, from JFK to RAK, I was charged 112K rnd trip, and when I asked, the agent said they now charge for the CAS to RAK segment in addition to the 44K JFK-CAS flight.

  3. Ugh, this sucks. I was so tempted to try doing a flight from New York to Montreal with a stopover in Casablanca….

  4. @Gary – it is unclear to me whether these 44K award seats can be booked on Etihad’s website, or if I need to call and speak to an agent. My wife and I have a trip to Morocco (and elsewhere) scheduled for next year, and this would be a perfect answer for the return leg. And it seems to me that booking now, before RAM becomes part of OW, is a good idea.

  5. Can you mix awards for a discount? For example, book a one-way IAD-CMN-FCO with the first segment in business (44k) and the short segment in economy (10k) for a total of 54k instead of 64k? Or do you have pay the business class the whole way through?

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