Direct Flights to Rarotonga for 12,500 KrisFlyer MilesThe beautiful beaches, lagoons and laid-back lifestyle make the Cook Islands a great holiday destination in the Pacific. It may only be January… but if you’re already thinking about your next holiday, why not consider Rarotonga?

Air New Zealand is not exactly renowned for great award availability. But there’s some good news if you’re thinking about a holiday in the Cook Islands.

Air New Zealand flies direct from Sydney to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. The fifth-freedom route is served once per week, leaving Sydney on Friday evening and returning from the Cook Islands on Thursday afternoon. A Boeing 777-200 with Economy, Premium Economy and lie-flat Business seating is used for the service.

Air New Zealand’s direct Sydney-Rarotonga service

Here is the current schedule:

  • Fridays: NZ60 Sydney 21:15 – Rarotonga 06:25
  • Thursdays: NZ61 Rarotonga 15:15 – Sydney 19:20 (+1 day)

Given Air New Zealand’s monopoly on direct flights to Rarotonga from Australia, tickets can be quite expensive. But if you have any points or miles with a Star Alliance airline, such as Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, these can come in handy! Air New Zealand usually releases a few Economy award seats per flight, so you don’t have to pay full price for a ticket.

Unfortunately, Air New Zealand almost never releases Premium Economy or Business award availability on the Sydney-Rarotonga route.

How to book an award seat

Redeeming Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles is particularly good value as a seat from Sydney to Rarotonga will cost you just 12,500 KrisFlyer miles, plus taxes. (The same price applies to any Air New Zealand award booking within Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands… including Perth to Tahiti.) You can book directly on the Singapore Airlines website.

Singapore Airlines website screenshot

It also costs 12,500 miles for bookings made using Aegean Miles&Bonus miles.

When redeeming points with a Star Alliance partner airline to fly Air New Zealand in Economy, you’ll be booked as a “Works” passenger. This means you’ll receive a complimentary meal, in-flight entertainment and a checked baggage allowance.

If you can’t find any award availability on Air New Zealand’s direct Sydney-Rarotonga service, there are many more flights with both Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia via Auckland. Jetstar also flies from Auckland to Rarotonga.

Redeeming United miles to/from Rarotonga

United charges a little more than KrisFlyer and Aegean Miles&Bonus, with Economy flights from Rarotonga to Sydney costing 22,500 United miles + taxes each way.

United Airlines website screenshot

But, there’s a neat little hack here with United Mileage Plus. If you tack on another flight from Sydney to Tokyo, the total cost of the award reduces to just 15,000 United miles. The taxes payable are also lower. Yes, seriously.

United Airlines website screenshot


Would you like help using your frequent flyer points?

Frequent Flyer Solutions offers a personalised service that’s designed to take the hard work out of redeeming your frequent flyer points!

Award Flight Assist can help you to find the perfect flights using your points. Just let the team know how many points you have and where you would like to go, and they’ll prepare an itinerary for you.

Click here to learn more about Award Flight Assist.


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]