This trip report covers a journey to Casablanca in Morocco to try out Qatar Airways’ Qsuites business class product.
Qatar Airways status match
Those who have been following this website for a while may recall that I was able to complete a Qatar Airways status match in 2020, which resulted in me being awarded gold status in their Privilege Club.
The main reason why I requested the status match was simple: It got me 40 Qcredits which I could use for a complimentary upgrade to business class.
While it was nice to have oneworld Sapphire status and a full year of lounge access, these benefits were of secondary importance to me since I mainly fly SkyTeam and Star Alliance airlines due to my geographical location.
Since it already requires some effort each year to maintain my elite status with both SkyTeam and Star Alliance, I was well aware that I wouldn’t be able to sustain my newly acquired Qatar Airways frequent flyer status once the one-year period of the status match had elapsed.
Unlike most other frequent flyers and aviation bloggers, I’m not awash in lots of miles or cash, so you’re more likely to find me flying with a low-cost airline or sitting in economy class rather than business class.
Furthermore, I’m not American, which means I don’t have access to all types of credit cards that enable one to accumulate hundreds of thousands of points with little to no additional costs.
However, thanks to the smart use of frequent flyer miles and some knowledge of securing the best flight deals, I still occasionally manage to fly up front in business class.
This was exactly the type of situation where I could put my knowledge to good use and find a smart way to maximize those 40 Qcredits by finding a cheap Qatar Airways economy class flight and upgrading it to business class for free.
Normally an easy task, but I had a few specific requirements that needed to be fulfilled.
I wasn’t looking to upgrade just any flight, I wanted to upgrade to a flight that featured Qatar Airways’ signature Qsuites business class product.
Being widely considered as the best business class product in the sky, I was eager to seize this opportunity to try out Qsuites regardless of the destination.
While I didn’t have a specific destination in mind, I was aware that many places wouldn’t meet my requirements.
Although it would have been great fun to take an ultra long-haul flight to South America or Australia, my 40 Qcredits would not be sufficient to upgrade these flights to business class and the economy class fares were too expensive in the first place.
While upgrading Qatar Airways flights from my home town of Bucharest to a place like Delhi in India, which is often served from Doha by an Airbus A350 with Qsuites, would have been feasible with 40 Qcredits, the flight time of only 3 hours between Doha and Delhi wouldn’t have maximised the possibilities.
Ideally, I would find a Qsuites flight that was cheap enough to book in economy class but long enough to actually enjoy the business class experience.
A challenge, but not something that is impossible to overcome.
Besides, travel planning is half the fun of the trip itself, and I always enjoy doing it.
After a couple of days searching I managed to come up with the best possible itinerary for my trip.
I discovered that Casablanca, the largest city in Morocco, was reliably served by a Boeing 777 equipped with Qsuites.
Although last-minute equipment changes are quite common with Qatar Airways and you therefore always risk finding yourself on another aircraft than the one you thought you would get, I figured that my chances of getting Qsuites would be pretty good on the Casablanca route.
Moreover, my 40 Qcredits were sufficient to upgrade both the Casablanca to Doha flight as well as the Doha to Bucharest flight to business class.
With a Qatar Airways economy class ticket from Casablanca to Doha only costing $309, it was certainly a great deal too.
The flight from Casablanca to Doha had a duration of 8 hours and 15 minutes, while the flight from Doha to Bucharest was clocked at 4 hours and 55 minutes.
That meant I could fly more than 13 hours in business class for just $309!
A visit to Morocco
Since I had never been to Morocco before, this Qatar Airways Qsuites trip to Casablanca presented the perfect opportunity to visit a new country.
Due to time constraints, I knew that my visit to Morocco would be limited to exploring only Casablanca and I wouldn’t be able to venture beyond the city.
Still, visiting just one city would be better than nothing, and this trip was mostly about using my Qcredits before they would expire anyway.
Confirming the Qcredits upgrade
With my itinerary set, all that was left was actually booking the trip.
Only economy booking classes L, T, B, H, K, N, O, S, V, Q, M and Y can be upgraded to business class with Qcredits, so I made sure that my Qatar Airways flights from Casablanca to Bucharest were in an eligible booking class (they were issued in N).
I also had made sure that my flights actually had Qcredit upgrade availability.
You can check for upgrade availability by logging in to your Privilege Club account and visiting the ‘Redeem Avios’ page, where you have to search for business class flights on the route you want to fly.
If you find business class flights with a gold ribbon indicating ‘Lowest price in Avios this week’, it means that your economy class itinerary is eligible for an upgrade to business class using Qcredits.
You can then easily upgrade your flight to business class using Qcredits by again clicking on ‘Redeem Avios’ and then on ‘Upgrade on Qatar Airways’, where you select Qcredits as your means to upgrade.
Depending on the departure airport, you may also be required to pay an additional fee to cover any difference in government taxes and airport fees between economy class and business class.
In my case, I had to pay an additional €30.36 to cover the increased taxes and fees.
Having paid this small fee, I was immediately issued my new tickets in business class (fare bucket U) and could select my preferred Qsuite seat on the Casablanca to Doha leg!
Booking the rest of the trip
Since I had only purchased a one-way ticket from Bucharest to Casablanca, I still needed to figure out how to travel to Morocco in the first place.
Getting to Morocco from Europe normally isn’t too difficult as there are many airports throughout the continent with affordable Ryanair flights to Morocco.
However, those flights were not feasible for me as due to my time constraints I needed to fly directly into Casablanca, which unfortunately isn’t one of the Moroccan cities served by Ryanair.
With one-stop itineraries on airlines such as Air France and Lufthansa being prohibitively expensive, I had no choice but to look for alternative routes and break the journey into two separate one-way flights to get to Casablanca.
After a quick search, I discovered that flights from Spanish airports to Casablanca were the most affordable option.
Therefore, I began researching suitable flights from Bucharest to one of those Spanish airports.
After considering several options, I ultimately booked an early morning Wizz Air flight from Bucharest to Barcelona for €62 and a late afternoon Royal Air Maroc flight from Barcelona to Casablanca for €81, leaving plenty of time between the two flights in case I would have a delay.
This is how my final itinerary looks like on a map:
Highlights to look forward to in this ‘Qatar Airways Qsuites Adventure to Casablanca’ trip report include:
– Flying Qatar Airways Qsuites between Casablanca and Doha.
– Exploring Morocco’s biggest city of Casablanca.
– A stopover walk through Barcelona.
– Reviews of airport lounges in Barcelona, Casablanca and Doha.
– Flight review of Royal Air Maroc economy class.
Trip report index
This ‘Qatar Airways Qsuites Adventure to Casablanca’ trip report consists of the following chapters:
1. A Stopover Walk Through Barcelona
2. Review: Joan Miró VIP Lounge Barcelona Airport
3. Review: Royal Air Maroc Economy Class Barcelona to Casablanca
4. Taking the Casablanca Airport Train: The Cheap Way Into the City
5. Review: Ibis Casa Voyageurs Hotel, Casablanca
6. Casablanca: Is Morocco’s Biggest City Worth a Visit?
7. Review: Royal Air Maroc Zenith VIP Lounge Casablanca Airport
** rest of the chapters to follow soon **