Our fabulous Digital Business Manager and Facebook Group Moderator, Megan Condello, wrote up a trip report about 10 days in Morocco using points and miles. She usually uses a combination of cash, points, and miles for her trips, and this was no different. She paid for her hotels with credit cards and earned points and miles. Megan could have also paid with the Capital One Venture cards and used the Cap One Purchase Eraser feature. Here is her report:
A kid-free 10-day trip to Morocco was the perfect level of adventure and culture for our 10-year wedding anniversary. This was our first time in Africa, and it was such a gem!
Wondering how many days you need and where to go in Morocco? We found that in order to experience the country truly, you need at least 10 days in Morocco. If we could have had a few more days, it would have been even better. Ideally, we think a full 14 days in Morocco would be perfect. However, we found that if you have at least 10 days in Morocco, you will get a great trip from cosmopolitan Casablanca to the enchanting cities of Fez and Marrakech and to a luxury desert camp in the Sahara Desert.
In order to get us from the East Coast to Morocco, we transferred American Express Membership Rewards from our American Express Platinum cards to Qantas to book our two Iberia flights from JFK to Casablanca. This one-way flight ticket from JFK to Casablanca was 65,000 miles plus $172 total for both of our flights. Then, coming home, we transferred Amex Membership Rewards to Air Canada to book our two United flights for 80,000 miles plus $210 total from Marrakech to Rochester. If paying cash, these one-way flights were $1,500 each!
In order to reposition to JFK for our flight there, we booked $80 one-way flights on Delta to get from Rochester to JFK. We spent the afternoon at the Amex Centurion Lounge (thanks to our Amex Platinums!) relaxing until our overnight flight to Madrid, then onto Casablanca.
For the first of our ten days in Morocco, we arrived in Casablanca, Morocco, around three in the afternoon. We were staying at Hotel Le Doge booked through Booking.com and arranged a private transfer from the airport to the hotel through the hotel.
Starting our Moroccan adventure in the city of Casablanca was a good choice. While many of the things I read beforehand suggested skipping Casablanca, it was worth it for the visit to explore the stunning Hassan II Mosque. This is one of the world’s largest mosques. We visited the mosque, walked all around, and then headed back towards our hotel to rest up for the next day’s trip to Fez.
The next morning, we took a taxi to the Casablanca Voyageurs train station. We purchased our train tickets to Fez. The train takes about 4 hours, and we paid a little more for a small, shared room with air conditioning (100% worth it).
The Fez Medina (city center) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In Fez, you can visit the many bustling souks and traditional tanneries, and admire the intricate architecture. Don’t forget to savor the flavors of Moroccan cuisine at a local restaurant and experience an authentic hammam for relaxation.
We stayed at the Riad Sidrat Fes, again booked through Booking.com. I wish we had more time here! Fez was a small, magical city where I feel we didn’t give enough time. Our riad was so lovely too. We arrived with not much of a plan, and the lovely desk host set us up with a private tour guide.
It was a very reasonable price for 4 hours of a private tour through the Medina. Our guide had grown up here, so it was so easy to let him lead the way through the labyrinth of streets. We hustled for those 4 hours and felt we saw almost everything. We even hit the minimum spend on my husband’s Citi Premier by purchasing a few rugs and shipping them home. And in case you are wondering, they DID arrive at our home about four days after we did. It felt strange to do this, but it was legitimate.
The next morning, we headed to a Sahara Desert luxury camp. We arranged a driver through the camp, and Kamal promptly picked us up at 9 a.m. We then embarked on our nearly 9-hour drive to where we would spend the next two nights.
There are a few things we have done and seen on our travels that have been WOW, but staying at a camp like this in the middle of the Sahara Desert is definitely one of our top 5 travel experiences ever. We spent two nights at the camp. All our food, non-alcoholic drinks, and activities were included in our stay. We ate delicious food under the stars and with the rising sun, went for a 2-hour camel ride, drank lots of mint tea, and relaxed with nothing but sand around us.
After our two nights at the Desert Camp, our same driver, Kamal, drove us from the camp to Marrakech. This was another nearly 9-hour day in the car, where we went up and over the Atlas Mountains. We stopped at notable places like where they filmed Game of Thrones.
Once we arrived in Marrakech, Kamal called the riad to have someone sent to walk us to the riad. We spent the next three nights there.
We spent our three days wandering through the vibrant Djemaa el-Fna square, where snake charmers, street performers, and market stalls create a lively atmosphere, visiting the Bahia Palace and the Majorelle Garden, a sanctuary of vibrant blue hues, and also spent SO much time wandering the colorful souks (markets). While in the market, we had handmade custom purses made for our girls to take home as souvenirs.
On our flight home from Marrakech, we had an overnight layover in Munich. We booked one night at the Hilton Munich Airport, using our $50 hotel credit from the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
After many U.S. family road trips with our three kids, this trip was a breath of fresh air. 10 Days In Morocco using points and miles gave us that “out of your comfort zone” feeling in your gut that we love to get when traveling to a new place. And to top it off, this trip was really made possible because we used points and miles!
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