Credit Cards That Help Charities - October 2017

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Charities are non-profits that survive strictly off donations from individuals and companies alike. On the flip side, banks are typically for-profit with the exception of credit unions. Bank and non-profit partnerships and affiliations are unique, but I think it’s great that some banks are starting to tie in charities by allowing card members to donate points and rewards to a charity affiliated with the bank. In the past, some companies have failed at tying credit cards into charities such as Swipegood.com.

With the holidays among us, you may want to share your love by donating to a charity of your choice. Giving Tuesday is a national campaign designed to encourage consumers to give back and celebrate generosity on November 28, 2017. You don't have to strictly donate money, either; you can donate your time, points, miles, or rewards with a credit card you may already be carrying. After some thorough digging around the web, there aren’t too many banks offering charity donation programs with their credit cards, but they are out there.

Banks with Charity Programs

Capital One has one of the more popular programs for charity donations. Their No Hassle Giving Site is powered by Network for Good, which allows Capital One card members to donate cash or rewards to over 1.2 million charities and Capital One will cover the transaction fees. Donators will receive an online receipt for their donation for tax season, which is right around the corner. All Capital One cards are eligible to donate through their No Hassle Giving Site.

American Express has a charity program, Members Give, that allows card members to donate rewards points to any non-profit registered with Members Give. American Express will donate $10 for every 1,000 points that are donated to a charity, on up to 500,000 points in donations each year. *Terms and limitations apply.

A few other programs include one from Discover Bank. Their program isn’t as advanced as Capital One’s program, but they do contribute an additional $25,000 to the organization that receives the most donations from their card members each year. Bank of America has a Keep the Change Program, where purchase amounts are rounded up to the nearest dollar, and that extra change will then be deposited into your account. You can easily take that change and donate it to your favorite charity. Citi allows you to donate your ThankYou points to select charities.

Donate Miles to Charity

There is an entire network of airlines that allow the donation of air miles. Donating miles will help fund charity travel expenses, which is a great idea since many of them volunteer all over the world. From what I’ve found, donating earned miles cannot be tax deductible, since it’s difficult to determine the point value since point values change so often. Some donation sites even include disclaimers that the IRS does not consider donated miles as tax deductible as they are considered a gift or award from the corporation to the individual cardholder. 

One foundation, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which needs more than 2.5 billion miles per year to cover every travel wish, lets you donate miles earned from Delta, United, American Airlines, or Jet Blue. Additionally, JetBlue has a program, the True Giving Donation Program, that accepts points earned from the  JetBlue Plus Card, Jet Blue’s rewards card. 

The following airlines participate in a donation program:

  • Aeroplan’s Charitable Pooling Program has an airmile program, Aeroplan Beyond Miles, which has many partnerships, including AirCanada, Avis Rent-a-Car, Delta Hotels and Resorts, American Express credit cards, and more. To date, they’ve received over 487 million miles with almost 900 participating charities
  • Alaska Airlines has a Charity Miles Program that’s affiliated with charities that accept miles such as Angel Flight West, Hero Miles, Dream Foundation, and more. Mileage Plan members of Alaska Airlines can also donate their miles.
  • The American Airlines Giving Program will earn you miles when you donate your cash back to a few select charities. There is a minimum requirement of 1,000 donated miles. 
  • Delta cardholders can donate their SkyMiles through their SkyWish program. A maximum of five charities can be selected and processed at one time and they are non-tax deductible. Delta also has a SkyWish Asia, Latin America & Caribbean, and Europe, Mille East & Africa program.
  • Hawaiian Airlines will match up to a half-million miles to each participating charity. HawaiianMiles can be donated online.
  • United Airlines has a rather large list of charities you can donate your MileagePlus Miles to. There is a minimum donation requirement of 500 miles per donation.

Credit Cards Made With Charities in Mind

Some rewards credit cards will give you bonus points for charitable donations such as the U.S. Bank Flexperks® Travel Rewards Visa Signature® Card. Card holders will earn 3X the points on charitable donations and it’s not a rotating category either.

Bank of America offers two cards specifically for charities, the Susan G. Komen and World Wildlife Fund Card. The Susan G. Komen® Credit Card will donate a minimum of $3 for each new account and Bank of America will donate money per dollar spent on net retail purchases charged to your card, and will also donate $3 each anniversary year.

Bank donations toward natural-disaster relief efforts

When tragedy strikes, banks often provide support to the affected areas through donations. Below is a list of banks that made recent donations in the devastating wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

  • American Express: Pledged a total of up to $1 million to assist with the immediate needs (including shelter and food) of hurricane victims in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and other Caribbean islands.
  • Bank of America: Nearly $5 million in support of communities impacted by Harvey, Irma and Maria, the California wildfires, and the earthquakes and Hurricane Katia in Mexico.
  • BB&T: $500,000 to help support disaster relief after Hurricane Irma.
  • Citi: Citi Foundation donated $1 million to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Irma relief and recovery efforts. Colleagues and clients donated $500,000 to the Red Cross. Total generated in response to Harvey and Irma: $2.5 million.
  • Discover: $1 million to help support relief efforts for both Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.
  • Goldman Sachs: $500,000 to organizations assisting in immediate search, cleanup and recovery efforts for Hurricane Irma.
  • JPMorgan Chase & Co.: $1 million to aid the response to Hurricane Irma across affected communities in the U.S. and the Caribbean.
  • SunTrust: $500,000 to various disaster relief and recovery efforts in support of the communities and businesses impacted by Hurricane Irma.
  • Synchrony: More than $300,000 to recent hurricane relief efforts through corporate grants and matching gifts.
  • TD Bank: $250,000 to the American Red Cross to support relief efforts in Florida and the Carolinas. Additionally, $250,000 in relief funding to local organizations through employee and community matching gift donations and $100,000 to the International Federation of Red Cross to support relief efforts in the Caribbean.
  • Wells Fargo: $1.1 million to support Irma relief efforts in Florida and the Caribbean.

*Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

*The content in this article is accurate at the publishing date, and may be subject to changes per the card issuer.

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