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IAG, the parent company of British Airways, Iberia, Vueling and Aer Lingus has apparently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Royal Air Maroc (RAM), the national airline of Morocco – making Royal Air Maroc an Avios partner.
The news was broken at an IAG Investor seminar, where it was mentioned in a presentation. At present, RAM has a frequent flyer programme called Safar Flyer, and the idea is that the Safar Flyer ‘currency’ is to convert to Avios later this year.
The original presentation can be found here.
Why is this interesting?
Well, although you can currently redeem Avios from Iberia Plus on RAM flights, this substantial extension of the link with Avios now lets you earn Avios on your flights with Royal Air Maroc, and potentially redeem Avios using your British Airways Executive Club/Avios.com accounts to book RAM flights too.
Royal Air Maroc fly to quite a range of destinations, especially in west Africa, opening up some fantastic new ways to use Avios.
The existing Iberia Plus chart for redeeming on RAM isn’t good value, and BA/OneWorld still struggle a bit with their coverage in Africa, so if it does become possible to redeem Avios through British Airways Executive Club/Avios.com on RAM flights that would be an excellent addition.
Although it doesn’t show up in the map above, RAM even do the short hop from Gibraltar to Tangier.
The real potential interest for most readers though, is the possibility of being able to transfer your Avios between Royal Air Maroc and your existing Avios, BA Executive Club or Iberia Plus accounts.
As I mentioned in the post about Aer Lingus ‘AerClub’ yesterday, new Avios programmes can mean new redemption sweetspots.
What I mean by that is, for example, it makes more sense to use BA Executive Club than Iberia Plus when using Avios to book short-haul flights on BA planes, because BAEC has the ‘Reward Flight Saver’, which limits the amount of taxes/surcharges charged; but it makes more sense to book long-haul flights on Iberia planes using Iberia Plus rather than BAEC, because the taxes/surcharges are much lower and you often need fewer Avios too.
Both programmes use Avios, and you can transfer freely between them, but they charge different amounts and have different rules for redemptions – so the trick is to take advantage of the best bits, the sweetspots, of each programme.
At this stage we just don’t know whether it’s going to be possible to transfer Avios between RAM and BA/Avios/Iberia, or whether they will opt for an arrangement more like Flybe or Meridiana who do not participate in ‘combine my Avios’.
Details remain sketchy for the time being, but clearly it’s a potentially very positive development for the Avios collector. Quite how positive, still remains to be seen!