Need help planning a specific trip. (PIT-Morocco)

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by Pava_cav, Feb 26, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. Pava_cav

    Pava_cav New Member

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    Hi,

    Was wondering if you I could get pointed int he right direction for a specific trip.

    I am pretty familiar with ways to earn points and have done quite a few cash back deals and AORs over the years but generally ignored travel. So I am pretty good on the miles earning side.

    It is the most effective way of redeeming and planning trips that my knowledge really falls short.

    Currently I am looking to travel from PIT to Morocco next spring for a week, 2 passengers, and would generally like to pay for the flights and all the hotels with points.

    So my first question would be what airline program to best go with? With this airline how many points would I need for the trip and how much should I expect to pay in taxes and fees?

    As for as the hotels go I am currently looking at the SPG AMEX, I don't need to stay in top of the line hotels, any other cards I should look at?

    ATM I have excellent credit and plan on buying some more investment property in the Fall of 2015, so any churns I do need to be finished by this fall.

    Thanks for any advice and I will gladly provide any info if needed!
     
  2. Pava_cav

    Pava_cav New Member

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    Any help here?

    I see Delta flies to Morocco through Air France but I have also heard a lot of horror stories about their program.
     
  3. bqkali

    bqkali Active Member

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    First of all, Morocco is a great country!

    Generally speaking, I'd lean toward SkyTeam or oneworld to get to Morocco, as both service multiple airports in the country on multiple airlines. FlyingBlue (KLM/AirFrance) is perhaps a hidden gem, since they categorize Morocco as part of "Europe" rather than Africa, thus requiring fewer miles, and surcharges would be affordable if you fly Delta to Europe and connect onward from there to Morocco, likely on AirFrance. FlyingBlue is an AmEx Membership Rewards transfer partner, and I think there's still an option floating out there to get 50K MR points with a Gold card signup...

    However, there is a lot to consider before choosing which program is the "best", including what class of service you prefer to fly in, which airlines/products you find most appealing, whether you'll earn all the miles from sign-up bonuses or if you'll do other flying, how many tickets you need, which airlines in Morocco are most convenient for your plans...

    Availability can play a big role in which program works best for you, so if you need more than 2 tickets (or even just 1 if you plan to fly in premium cabins!), I'd do some sample searches to see what typical availability looks like. I'd say you could just ask around, but many times people tell me availability is great because they see seats open for rewards on 25/30 days of the month, but if none of those days are on Fridays and that's the day I need to fly, I'd still be out of luck. Put some due diligence into it. If you're discouraged by lack of availability, there are ways to get creative, such as flying to Europe and paying your connecting flight from there ($100-200pp, but offset by fewer miles needed by most programs). We can help if you give us a starting point on your priorities.

    As for hotels, you may end up disappointed in Morocco. Chain hotels are few and far between, and you'll find them in Casablanca and Marrakech but not much else. Decide where you want to go and then make sure there are properties there before assuming hotel points will help you. Also keep in mind that in some cases the chain hotels are far removed from historical attractions, which may or may not be an issue for you. The upside is that you can get some really nice non-chain properties for $100/night so if there isn't a free night, it might not be the end of the world (or it may be time to use cash back rewards instead). It might also be a good time to pull out that free Accor platinum status since there are Accor-branded properties scattered throughout the country.

    I apologize if my answer is a bit vague, but I need a few more details on your intentions for a clearer picture.
     
  4. Pava_cav

    Pava_cav New Member

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    Thanks so much for the response!

    I fly very little, I will be earning almost all the points through spending and sign up bonuses.

    That being said I have little preference for airlines. We are looking at flying either in December or next March and there will be two of us. While I would prefer business or first class economy works as well. Given that which airline would you recommend?


    I have the 50k sign up gold card in my pocket right now, and was planning on using those miles for this trip.

    As far as hotels go I noticed Starwood properties in Marrakesh and Casablanca and they are pretty affordable, I think just the bonus for the SPG Amex would cover 4 days of hotel. Was looking at Fes and Merzouga as well.
     

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