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If you’re a frequent traveler, you probably belong to airline and hotel loyalty programs. And because of that, you’ve probably accumulated more than your share of miles and points on these accounts.
We know that miles and points can be cashed in for everything from flights and hotel rooms to cruises and retail items. But what can you do with them if you already have everything you need? You may want to consider donating them to a worthy cause.
The top airline and hotel companies have created specific programs that easily help you donate your miles and points to charities. Some will even match what you donate. Donations are not tax-deductible, but you can feel good that your points benefit those in need. Here are the donation policies for the top airline and hotel companies.
The Alaska Airlines Charity Miles Pool program supports charities involved in disaster relief efforts and transportation of medical staff and volunteers. Donations start at 1,000 miles, and there’s no maximum on miles donated. Mileage Plan members can also support charities including Angel Flight West, Dream Foundation, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Foundation, Hero Miles, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Medical Teams International, National Forest Foundation, The Nature Conservancy and the United Negro College Fund.
How to donate: After signing into your Mileage Plan account, click on the Donate Miles link. Select an organization from the drop-down list, designate the number of miles you’re donating and hit send.
The airline allows AAdvantage members to donate miles to its three designated charities: Miles of Hope, Miles for All Who Serve and Miles for Kids in Need. You must donate a minimum of 1,000 miles, but there is no cap on the number of miles you can donate. Those with an available balance of less than 1,000 miles may donate their entire balance.
Miles of Hope supports organizations that supply basic needs including food, clothing, shelter and more to people facing unexpected adversity, along with those with a strategic focus on children. It focuses on nonprofits like the Red Cross that help in the areas of food, shelter, health, education and employment.
Miles for All Who Serve helps organizations that support veterans, military members and their families. Among the charities it supports is the Hero Miles program, which helps provide round-trip airline tickets to wounded, injured and ill service members (and their families) who are undergoing treatment at a military or Veterans Affairs medical center, or who are attending an authorized event.
The Miles for Kids in Need program supports organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life for children with medical, educational or social services needs, and/or for those that heighten public awareness of children’s issues. Charities supported include Make-A-Wish, Snowball Express and UNICEF Change for Good.
How to donate: On the Donate page, click on the link of one of the three designated charities. On the charity’s page, choose how many miles you want to donate, then hit submit.
American Airlines also gives AAdvantage members miles for donating cash to Miles To Stand Up and Miles For The Cure, which focus on cancer research and breast cancer, respectively. For both programs, donations start at $25, and you’ll get 10 miles for every $1 donated. The mileage cap for a 12-month period is 600,000. Miles awarded under this program don’t count toward elite status qualification. Donate to Miles To Stand Up here and Miles For The Cure here.
Delta Air Lines
Delta uses its SkyWish program to accept SkyMiles donations starting at 1,000 miles. There is no maximum on how many miles you can donate. The donations help provide travel to: ill or wounded service members and veterans undergoing medical treatment or reuniting with their families; volunteers building affordable housing across the globe; children with life-threatening medical conditions who are seeking care at the best hospitals in the nation or visiting their dream destination; and volunteers assisting with disaster relief and recovery during national emergencies. The airline also collects miles on behalf of the Red Cross to help the organization with its disaster relief efforts.
Those who donate can designate their miles to up to five of these charities:
- American Cancer Society
- American Red Cross
- Breast Cancer Research Foundation
- Canine Assistants
- Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals
- Hero Miles
- Habitat for Humanity
- Luke’s Wings
- St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
- The Nature Conservancy
- The Salvation Army
How to donate: The SkyWish page has a featured box for donations to the American Red Cross, along with the list of designated charities. After logging into your SkyMiles account, you can choose up to five charities for miles donations. Type in the number of miles, then hit apply.
The carrier’s True Giving donation program is simple. Members of the TrueBlue loyalty program donate their points into the carrier’s True Giving database, powered by KULA Causes, Inc., where they’ll be distributed to more than 2.5 million causes around the world.
TrueBlue members can donate from a minimum of 500 points to a maximum of what they have in their account. Charities the airline supports include the USO of Metropolitan New York, Angel Flight, First Book and the Cradle of Aviation Museum. Recipients can use the donated points to cover travel costs.
How to donate: On the Donate page, choose your charities of choice. After designating how many points you want to donate, hit submit.
Southwest allows Rapid Rewards members to donate between 2,000 and 13,000 points to nine charities it says make a difference in the lives of those in need. They include:
- All Hands Volunteers
- American Red Cross
- Dream Foundation
- Honor Flight Network
- Team Rubicon
- The Mission Continues.
- Ronald McDonald House Charities
- Student Conservation Association
How to donate: On the “Donate Your Points” page, designate your charity of choice and how many miles you wish to donate, then hit continue. On the next page, you can check your information then click Donate Now.
Donations by MileagePlus members start at 500 miles and can go to more than 45 designated charities focusing on youth, humanitarian efforts, health, community, and military. There’s no limit on the amount of miles you can donate. The airline’s featured charity is Hero Miles, but it also supports organizations such as Transplant Recipients International Organization, ORBIS International, and Feeding America.
How to donate: The process is very simple. Start on this page and choose a charity, put in the points you want to donate and hit the Donate Now button. Your donation is completed.
The hotel chain has partnered with PointWorthy to donate Hilton Honors™ points to the organizations or causes of your choice. After going to PointWorthy.com, you create an account, then link it to your Hilton Honors™ account. You’ll be able to make donations, starting at 4,000 points, from among thousands of charitable organizations, including the Nature Conservancy, the Smithsonian Museum and Theatre. The fine print notes that Hilton Honors™ may set minimum and/or maximum Point redemption requirements at any time.
How to donate: On the Hilton donation page, go to PointWorthy.com. Create an account and link it to your Hilton Honors™ account. Choose your charitable organization, put in the number of points you wish to donate and hit submit.
Hyatt doesn’t currently have a points donation program, but the company is working toward making this a feature of the program for its members, a company spokeswoman told CompareCards.com via email. She noted that World of Hyatt members donated points for a past initiative with Learning AFAR and No Barriers USA that helped send 11 Chicago Academy High School students on a cultural immersion trip. Members have also donated points in the past for various disaster relief initiatives and they can donate their points for disasters that impact Hyatt hotel employees.
IHG Rewards Club points donation program allows members to donate between 2,500 and 10,000 points directly to the IHG Foundation. In turn, the foundation awards grants to groups around the world that are helping make local communities better places for all. Donations are made to groups including the United Way, Goodwill, the British Red Cross and Clean The World.
How to donate: The Donations page allows you to donate 2,500, 5,000 or 10,000 points. Log in, click on the number of points you wish to donate and add it to your basket, then hit submit.
The rewards program targets four featured causes: ones that nurture the world, sustain responsible operations, empower through opportunity and advance human rights. It also has a special program with the American Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to help them with disaster relief.
Members can also donate to charities including the Children’s Miracle Network, the World Wildlife Fund, Youth Career Initiative and Immigration Equality. Donations range from 2,500 to 140,000 points.
How to donate: On the Buy, Share or Donate Points page, you can either donate to featured causes or communities affected by natural disasters. After clicking on Donate Points, you’re taken to a Marriott donation page, where you choose a charity. You’re taken to a donation page, where you can click on amounts ranging from 2,500 and 140,000 points. Click on a number and hit donate points.
Starwood Preferred Guest
Members of the Starpoints program can donate to three designated charities: Clean the World, American Red Cross, and UNICEF. Clean the World is the top global recycler of hotel soap and bathroom amenities, which are distributed through global health and hygiene education programs to disaster victims, refugees and children and families living in extreme poverty. Starwood partners with UNICEF for Check Out for Children and has raised more than $30 million since 1995 to improve the lives of children.
How to donate: Once on the Starwood Preferred Guest website, members can sign into their accounts and click on the Book & Redeem tab. Click on redeem, then click on “do good with your earnings.” Then click “donate now” next to the charity of your choice. You can donate between 500 and 20,000 points.
The charities Wyndham Rewards supports with points donations are its philanthropic partners that focus on three key areas: conservation, education, and wellness. Members can donate their points to charitable organizations including Save the Children, Christel House, and Hotels for Heroes. Donation amounts vary by organization but typically range from around 50 points to 15,000 points per donation, and there’s no cap on how many donations a member may make.
How to donate: The Wyndham Rewards Charities page lists its designated organizations, along with points that can be donated. Click on the charity and the number of points you wish to donate. Add it to the shopping bag. Once you’ve chosen them, you check out, and your donation is made.