How to Use Miles & Points to Support Charity

Miles vs Points

There are thousands and thousands of progressive nonprofit organizations across the globe striving to make the world a greater place. Many of those charities rely closely on donations from non-public people. If you happen to’d like to help the charity in a novel method that prices you nothing, you would possibly think about donating rewards factors to charity!

This round-up will discover among the greatest methods to donate to charity without spending your hard-earned cash. We’ll cowl how to donate air miles to charity, how to make money donations without utilizing your personal funds, and different distinctive methods to do a variety of good for no out-of-pocket value. Let’s dive in!

Best: Donate Miles Straight By way of the Loyalty Program

Professionals: Straightforward, low minimal donation (as little as 500 miles), a nice number of charities
Cons: Not tax-deductible, low redemption worth, lack of transparency in some instances

Most loyalty packages have a donation function inbuilt. These sometimes enable you to straight help quite a lot of charities, with low minimal pledges. For instance, United Airways affords the prospect to donate as little as 500 miles to one in all 40+ charities. You possibly can donate straight by way of your loyalty program account.

That is sometimes the simplest way to help charity with rewards factors. Nevertheless, there are some downsides. The massive one is that for a lot of charities, miles/factors are transformed to a money donation – and also you don’t at all times get the most effective price. For instance, a donation of 10,000 miles would possibly solely yield a monetary donation of $50 or $100, but you can simply get $150 or extra in worth should you redeem these miles for a flight. Worse, the conversion charges are not often disclosed, so you could have no concept of how a lot of profit your chosen charity will really obtain out of your donation.

That stated this can be a smart way for the common individual to donate air miles to charity. The minimum to donate is normally pretty low (500-1000 miles), so it’s a great use of small quantities of miles that aren’t actually helpful in any other case. It’s additionally a great way to burn miles which can be set to expire quickly.

Sources: 

  • Airline donation pages: United, Alaska, Southwest, JetBlue, American, Delta, Hero Miles by way of Fisher Home, Needs in Flight by way of Make a Want Basis
  • Lodge donation pages: Marriott, Greatest Western, Hilton, Motels for Heros by way of Fisher Home
  • Credit card donation pages: Citi ThankYou, Uncover Cashback Bonus, Amex Membership Rewards
person's share donation box

Support Unwell Kids: Needs in Flight® by way of Make a Want

Professionals: Straightforward, low minimal donation (500 miles), miles are used straight by the charity
Cons: Not tax-deductible

Make a Want America is a big charity that helps make desires come true. They work with kids who’ve been recognized with crucial diseases, serving to make their needs and desires an actuality. This system helps make tens of hundreds of needs come true yearly – with a mean of 1 want granted each 34 minutes in America alone!

Many needs granted by Make a Want® contain journey – and right here’s the place your miles may also help. Via the Needs in Flight® program, on a regular basis, individuals are ready to donate airline miles to assist desires to come true. Miles are DIRECTLY utilized by this system to help needs, and a small number of miles can go a great distance!

This system is at the moment partnered with United, Delta, American Airways, Southwest, and JetBlue. Minimal donations vary from 500 to 2,000 miles, relying on this system. See the assets part beneath for particulars.

Sources: 

  • Donation directions: How to donate to Needs in Flight
  • Minimal donation: 500 miles minimal for United and JetBlue; 1,000 miles minimal for Delta and American; 2,000 miles minimal for SouthWest

Support Service Members: Fisher Home Basis’s Hero Miles or Motels for Heroes packages

Professionals: Straightforward, low minimal donation (500 miles), miles are used straight by the charity
Cons: Not tax-deductible

Navy non-profit Fisher Home Basis is greatest recognized for offering “a home away from home” for households of sufferers receiving medical care at main navy and VA medical facilities. The properties present momentary free lodging, so households may be shut to their family members throughout a medical disaster. Fisher Home additionally operates two essential packages for navy service members and their households. Hero Miles helps present no-cost airline tickets to wounded and in poor health service members and their households – whereas Motels for Heroes helps to home households close to the medical facility throughout therapy. Fisher Home is a trusted nonprofit with a flawless score on Charity Navigator.

The distinctive factor about these two packages is that they really straight use the miles and lodge factors. So should you donate 1,000 miles, that’s 1,000 miles that they may actually use to guide an aircraft ticket for a deserving service member. The majority of their 70,000+ profitable flights have been funded by donations on a regular basis individual, and they’re at all times in want of extra miles & factors! With many different charities, the miles are transformed to money and never used straight – so this represents a great choice to get a variety of worth out of your miles, whereas serving to a very deserving trigger.

Read More: Online Events and Donate Button

These are two wonderful packages, and the excellent news is that it’s very simple to help them! Fisher Home’s Hero Miles program has a direct partnership with a number of airlines including American, Alaska, Delta, Frontier, and United. When you have miles in any of these packages, you’ll be able to donate them to Fisher Home with a 500-1000 mile minimum, relying on this system.

Motels for Heroes works in primarily the identical method. It has partnerships with AmericInn, Greatest Western, Alternative Motels, Hilton, La Quinta Inns & Suites, Marriott, and Wyndham. You possibly can simply donate lodge factors with low minimums.

Sources: 

  • Donation directions: How to donate to Hero Miles, How to donate to Motels for Heroes
  • Minimal donation: 500 miles minimal for United and American; 1,000 miles minimal for different airways. Lodge level minimums fluctuate – see right here.

Support Refugees: Miles4Migrants

Professionals: Direct effect (miles are used to reunite refugee households), nice redemption values
Cons: Takes time, excessive minimums for donation

Miles4Migrants is a progressive nonprofit group that helps to relocate refugees. They use donated miles & factors to fly refugees out of unsafe areas and assist them to reunite with their households overseas. For instance, a Syrian refugee with a household already settled in Europe could obtain a no-cost aircraft ticket to Europe from Miles4Migrants.

The method works like this: Supporters “pledge” a certain amount of miles for a selected airline, then Miles4Migrants works to discover a case that may make the most of these miles to fly somebody to security. As soon as a case is lined up, the supporter will normally straight guide the ticket for the refugee utilizing these miles. So, that is positively a bit extra work than your common donation – however at the identical time, you see straight what your donation is in a position to accomplish, and also you get to hear the story of a household that was reunited straight due to your generosity.

Miles4Migrants spawned from the favored credit card discussion board reddit.com/r/churning and continues to be a comparatively younger charity. They’re very efficient, nevertheless, having efficiently relocated over 140 individuals in simply over 1 12 months of operations. I personally labored with this charity to relocate a household, and for me, it was positively essentially the most rewarding use of factors/miles doable.

Sources: 

  • Minimal miles pledge: 10,000 Final Rewards, 10,000 BA Avios, 15,000 for many different airline packages. Solely 1,000 for Aeroplan (donate Aeroplan miles right here).
  • Different methods to help: Donate money to assist cowl taxes & charges, set Miles4Migrants as your AmazonSmile charity

Most Choices: Redeem for Money

Professionals: Donate to any charity, low minimal donations, could be tax-deductible
Cons: Low redemption worth, not doable with most airline miles/lodge factors

Money continues to be king – even when it comes to charity. ALL charities settle for money donations, and there’s no crimson tape or difficult course of concern like there may be with miles. However, this information is about supporting a charity without spending cash – so, what provides?

Nicely, most credit card rewards currencies and a few frequent flier packages enable you to redeem miles for money and/or assertion credit. For instance, Chase Final Rewards may be redeemed for $0.01 per level, and Amex Membership Rewards may be swapped for $0.006 per level. Whereas this normally isn’t the most effective redemption price, it provides you the pliability of getting precise cash to donate to ANY charity of your selection.

Most banks and card issuers provide a method to redeem factors for assertion credit. So, you’ll be able to merely make a donation to a charity of your selection, utilizing your credit card. Then, redeem factors for an announcement credit, which can primarily decrease or erase the cost of your card. Alternatively, some rewards factors may be transformed to precise money – during which case the card issuer will simply mail you a verify. It is a great way to use factors from easy no-fee playing cards that earn cash back as an alternative to miles.

Most Sophisticated: Redeem for Present Playing cards

Professionals: Donate to any charity, could also be a greater worth than money redemptions
Cons: It Will be difficult, is usually a poor redemption worth

Another choice that’s a bit extra concerned is to redeem factors for reward playing cards, after which donate the playing cards to an area charity. For greatest outcomes, name the charity first to see if they’d settle for a present card, and ask what service provider can be most helpful (suppose Amazon, Goal, and so on.)

Such a redemption could make sense in some conditions. As an illustration, you will get $0.01 per level for Amex MR factors when redeeming for a lot of reward playing cards, whereas money redemption charges are a 40% decrease at $0.006 per level. Additionally, many frequent flier packages, lodge rewards packages, and so on. enable you to redeem for reward playing cards, however, do NOT enable you to redeem for money.

Need to get much more difficult? You may additionally promote these reward playing cards, after which donate the money. Or, you can use the reward card on your personal bills, and donate the money you’d have spent on these purchases. You possibly can maintain touring down the rabbit gap of complication should you’d like – I’m simply right here to spark some concepts!

Sources: 

  • Charities that settle for reward playing cards: Goodwill, native nonprofits (name first), Class Motion Lawsuits, CharityChoice, GiftCards4Change
  • Promote reward playing cards for money: GiftCardGranny, CardCash, Elevate

Issues to Know

Donating reward factors to charity is usually very rewarding expertise (pun supposed)! It could possibly really feel nice to know you might be serving to make a distinction, without having to spend your personal cash. With all that stated, there are some issues to take note of about donating frequent flier miles and different rewards factors:

  1. Charity choice: With so many charities on the market, it may be robust to choose the most effective one. Clearly, you might be considerably restricted should you’re donating miles, however, we nonetheless advocate performing some analysis. Instruments like CharityNavigator and CharityWatch may also help you make a knowledgeable determination.
  2. Taxes: Usually talking, credit card rewards are not thought of as taxable earnings, and are considered by the IRS as both a rebate or a present. This additionally implies that donations of miles/factors are NOT tax-deductible. Money donations to the charities mentioned above are normally deductible, however, donations of any form of rewards factors usually are not.
  3. Greatest use: In some instances, utilizing reward factors for charitable contributions shouldn’t be essentially the most effective use of the factors. For instance, you would possibly donate 10,000 miles (transformed to $50-$100), whereas that very same 10,000 miles might have purchased you up to $150-$200+ value of the free journey. Mix that with the truth that miles donations usually are not tax-deductible, and the straightforward actuality is that this: generally it’s higher to use the factors your self, and easily donate money.
  4. Family and friends: Whereas supporting large charities is superior, the likelihood is you’ve got somebody in your life that would use a serving to hand. In some instances, serving individuals you already know who can be struggling financially with free aircraft tickets, reward playing cards, or lodge rooms could also be greater use of your miles than donating miles to charity. Or, think about an extra concerned scheme: Supply to purchase your good friend’s $300 aircraft ticket together with your miles, and have them donate $200 or so to charity. That method, your good friend saves $100, and a deserving charity will get $200!

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