The Dream Foundation: Airline Miles For Charity
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
Recently I learned about an important charity through my friend and fellow blogger Rick, the Frugal Travel Guy. The Dream Foundation is a national non-profit that offers a very special service to adults who are facing a life-limiting disease or illness. This 17-year-old organization strives to grant one "dream" to each patient they work with that will improve the quality of life each recipient has left.
Many of the "dreamers" have less than 6 months to live, and about 30% have final wishes that involve travel - be it to visit a loved one, take a trip with their family to create lasting memories, or to finally see a long-awaited destination. What makes this charity so unique is that they have partnered with several airlines (Delta, Alaska, Continental, and United) in an effort to make those dreams a reality. I believe in giving back- especially when it's travel, which is something we often take for granted. I mean, how many of us have gone on mileage runs just for the sake of collecting elite status or mileage bonuses? How often do we get bent out of shape about not getting the bonuses we thought we deserve? I always think it's important to put things in perspective and how could you not feel sympathetic to a cause that grants people travel wishes on their last days on earth?
The great thing is that they accept airline miles, which I thought was right up the TPG community's alley. And there's no minimum - so you can donate as little or many miles as you want. Donating is incredibly simple; just visit this page and fill in the form. To donate the miles from your account you merely need to provide the amount, name of airline, your account number and pin and there is no minimum donation. I'm not recommending you make massive mileage donations (it makes more financial sense to make a cash donation and take the tax writeoff), but more to just throw them some of the spare mileage you may have laying around. I just donated a couple thousand miles by just giving the odd amounts in between thousands, in my Delta, Alaska and Continental/United accounts, which only took 30 seconds for each. While I'm wary of giving out my account pins, this organization is completely legitimate and has a four-star rating from Charity Navigator. A quick solution is to temporarily change your pin to something simple, fill out the form, and then change your pin back after the miles have been extracted from your account.
To learn more about the Dream Foundation and how you can help, check out this page or call (805) 564-2131. If you are interested in making a monetary donation (use a points earning credit card, especially the Chase Freedom which gives 5 points per dollar spent on Charitable Organizations this quarter ) there is a gift-giving guide (ranging from $25 to $1000) which will outline exactly what your generosity will provide. Donations are 100% tax-deductible.
My email confirmation from my one Delta donation:
"Thank you for making a donation to Dream Foundation, the first and largest non-profit wish-granting agency for adults battling life-limiting illness.
Your donation of 952 miles through Delta Airlines is now being processed.
Your gift will create lasting memories of joy, peace, and reconciliation for families who do not have the resources to realize their final wishes.
On behalf of our dream recipients, their families and caregivers, thank you for your contribution."
While I encourage everyone to use miles for their maximum value, using them to help those in need and thus making a nice deposit in your travel karma bank might just be the best "Cent Per Mile" value you ever get on your miles.