Guest Post by Chris Carruth
The holiday season is not solely a time for receiving gifts but also a time for giving, and in that spirit I’m advocating for starting the New Year off by donating frequent flier miles to charities. While not heavily promoted, almost all airlines have a miles-for-charity program which allows you to donate your miles to a worthy cause.
Donations can be made at any time, but if you’re paying attention to the expiry date via the UsingMiles dashboard, you can capitalize on donating miles that are nearing expiration and can’t or won’t be used. Why let them go to waste? Give instead.
To provide a general idea of what these programs are about, I’ve broken down several U.S. carrier’s various miles-for-charity programs:
- Delta SkyWish: Miles can be given to various aid agencies such as the American Red Cross, American Cancer Society, Breast Cancer Research, UNICEF and many more. Must donate a minimum of 1,000 miles and may take up to 6 weeks to be reflected on your account statement.
- U.S. Airways Miles of Hope: Like Delta Skywish, you can donate your miles to several aid agencies such as the American Red Cross, Make-a-Wish-Foundation and the Fisher House.
- American Airlines Aadvantage programs: American Airlines partners with Operation Hero Miles and Miles for Kids in Need. American kicks in one mile for every three you donate.
Worth noting that you cannot take a tax deduction for miles given to charity.
The programs above are just the tip of the iceberg, as Southwest, Frontier, JetBlue and nearly all International carriers have miles-for-charity programs as well.
If you’re looking to donate cash instead of miles, Milepoint has created a team you can join on Kiva.org, a website that allows you to make micro-loans to entrepreneurs in third-world countries. They are currently ranked #1 for loans this month and last! Join today!
Hope this information resonates as you enter the New Year, and if you find yourself with miles or cash to spare.