Trip Introduction: Iceland, Spain & Morocco via Icelandair Saga Class & British Airways First Class

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The country of Morocco is particularly difficult to get to on points and miles. After we had passed over Morocco in favour of South Africa and and other Southern African destinations when redeeming our points and miles trips, it was finally time to maximize our rewards to get to Northern Africa. Read on to see how we did it.


This post is one chapter on our trip to Iceland, the United Kingdom and Morocco. This trip was redeemed through Alaska Mileage Plan and enhanced through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Read more from this trip:

Trip Introduction: Iceland, Spain and Morocco via Icelandair Saga Class and British Airways First Class


Planning the Trip:

MrsWT73 had been after me to get her to Morocco and Iceland for the better part of about two years. Given that Morocco is in Africa, and usually commands a hefty award premium for business class tickets, I had to get creative with the routings.

Planning Flights:

Ultimately, we ended up forgoing wonderful fully flat seats across the ocean for an IcelandAir Saga Business Class ticket in their barca loungers from the Americas. Although we didn’t get a fully flat seat, we would also save several hours of flying by not having to connect in Europe and having to backtrack to Iceland. IcelandAir is quite stingy with their award space. Initially, I had booked departing from Denver, USA to Reykjavik, but then about a month later via an Expert Flyer alert, business class space opened up on the Seattle, USA – Reykjavik flight. We also found connecting business class space onwards from Reykjavik to Madrid, Spain. We booked two Alaska Mileage Plan tickets in Business Class at 55,000 miles and $220 USD in taxes and fees each at 6 months prior to travel.

Since we needed to get from Europe to Africa, and it was only a short distance between Spain and Morocco, I was able to find reward space on Iberia Business Class between Madrid and Marrakech for 15,000 British Airways Avios and $30.32 USD per person booked at about 4 months prior to travel.

For our return segment, I located award space through the Alaska Airlines websites using the calendar feature for British Airways First Class space on their Airbus 380-800 from Heathrow to Vancouver, Canada. There was only a 10,000 mile premium for first class with Alaska Mileage Plan so it made sense to book First Class as it was available. I also happened to luck upon two business class Club Europe seats from Marrakech to London Gatwick. I say luck as they were pretty hard to find at all. We opted for a two day stopover in London since it’s been about 11 years since I had been, despite having visited a lot growing up. We booked these two tickets via Alaska Mileage Plan in Business / First at 80,000 miles and $517.20 USD in taxes and Air Passenger Duty at about 7 months prior to travel.

In the end, the routing ended up looking like this:

YVR-SEA-KEF (Alaska Mileage Plan Award)
KEF-MAD (Alaska Mileage Plan Award)
MAD-RAK (British Airways Avios Award)
RAK-LGW (Alaska Mileage Plan Award)
LHR-YVR (Alaska Mileage Plan Award)

Our Trip With Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Planning Hotels:

In terms of hotels for this trip, we stuck with Marriott Bonvoy properties, which were then in the Starwood Preferred Guest program.

In Iceland, we stuck with the Design Hotels ION Hotels which were a member of Design Hotels group. We stayed at the Hotel 101 in Reykjavik and the ION Adventure Hotel in Nesjavillir, Iceland. With hotels generally being expensive in Iceland, we figured we may as well take the opportunity and earn some points with our hotel accommodation. As top tier members in the Marriott Bonvoy / Starwood Preferred Guest Program, we’d earn a stack of points with the stay and earn some elite qualifying nights on status for next year.

We continued on with this theme of Marriott Hotels for this particular trip. In Spain we enjoyed the Westin Hotel Madrid, and the aspirational Hotel Alphonso XIII by Luxury Collection in Seville Spain. We used Suite Night Awards at the Hotel Alphonso to apply towards a nicer room.

In Morocco, we stayed at the Anayela Riad by Design Hotels; a charming 6 room riad within the walled City of Morocco. In addition to our stay at the Erg Chigaga Luxury Tented Camp, we had another one night stay at everyone’s favorite redemption property the Le Meridien N’Fis Marrakech, Morocco thanks to it’s deeply discounted reward rate. We redeemed points at the Le Meridien as it’s one of the best hotel reward values around in the Marriott Bonvoy / Starwood Preferred Guest Program.

We built in a stopover on the way home and conveniently stayed at the Le Meridien Picadilly right in the heart of Central London, United Kingdom. We were generally happy with our

Please stay tuned for another terrific adventure!


If you have put together reward travel to Morocco, how did you go about doing it?

2 Comments on “Trip Introduction: Iceland, Spain & Morocco via Icelandair Saga Class & British Airways First Class

  1. It’s great to see the details of your trip and award planning. Really helpful as I am in Yvr and can shamelessly reference yours. Btw: is it possible to list the year of travel as there have been many changes with Various programs?

    Like

    • I’ve been bringing these past trips on line during the pandemic which stemmed a lot of travels.

      The year of travel is listed in the Trip Reports Tab from the Home Page, which has all trips reported by year. I’m on track to be up to date by summer 2022, so you can expect to see more real time reporting.

      Thanks for reading and happy travels

      Like

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