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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 December 2, 2014. You don’t have to strictly donate money, either; you can donate your time, or donate your 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. Additionally, American Express has a True Giving Donation Program that accepts points earned from the TrueBlue Credit Card, Jet Blue’s rewards card. *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. Citi has a great program called “ThankYou Your Way” that allows cardholders to choose how to use points and even pick a card category. One of those options allows card members to donate their points through PointWorthy.
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 it changes so often. Some donation sites even include disclaimers that the IRS does not consider donated miles as tax deductible.
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, or U.S. Airways.
The following airlines participate in a donation program:
- Aeroplan’s Charitable Pooling Program has an airmile program, Aeroplan Beyond Miles, which has many affiliations, including AirCanada, Avis Rent-a-Car, Delta Hotels and Resorts, and UnitedAirlines. To date, they’ve received 356.2+ million miles with almost 600 participating charities
- Alaska Airlines has a Charity Miles Program that’s affiliated with charities that accept miles such as Angel Flight, Hero Miles, and Dream Foundation. Mileage Plan members of Alaska Airlines can donate miles.
- American Airlines will earn you bonus points for donations to a select few charities.
- Delta will allow card members to 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 program.
- Hawaiian Airlines will match up to a half million miles to each participating charity. HawaiianMiles can be donated online.
- Dividend Miles earned from U.S. Airways can be donated through Miles of Hope, which is affiliated with 5 charities.
- 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 B. Komen and World Wildlife Fund Card. The Susan B. Komen Credit Card will donate a minimum of $3 for each new account and Bank of America will donate 20 cents per dollar spent on net retail purchases charged to your card, and will also donate $1 each anniversary year. The World Wildlife Fund Credit Card will donate $5 for each new card account, WWF will receive 25 cents per dollar on all net retail purchases, and an additional $5 will be donated each year the card is renewed.
There’s one great credit card that is 100% designed for charity donations that are 100% tax deductible. The HaloCard allows card members to donate 1% of their purchases to a charity of their choice, which they can change at any time. You must receive an Invitation Code to apply, but both consumers and businesses are able to get a new account.
Chase Freedom, one of the best cash back rewards cards on the market, used to have a category dedicated to charity donations, but I’m no longer seeing that as an option in their 2014 category calendar. Hopefully they bring it back in the future.
*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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