Earning and Using Points For Hurricane Sandy Relief Donations

Nov 1, 2012

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Update: You can no longer purchase Vanilla Reload cards using a credit card and Vanilla Reloads are no longer available in Office Depot.

Not only did Hurricane Sandy throw everyone’s travel plans into chaos, but it also claimed dozens of lives, flooded cities and towns up and down the East Coast, left 8 million people without power and caused billions of dollars in damage.

I know a lot of you are thinking of contributing to relief efforts, so I wanted to put up some information on charitable donations, especially because you can still either earn or redeem points by donating in a few ways.

Yesterday, I learned that American Airlines is partnering with the Red Cross by giving AAdvantage members bonus miles based on contributions. Now through November 30, 2012, members can earn a one-time award of 250 miles for a minimum donation of $50, or 500 miles for a donation of $100 or more to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. You can find out more and donate here.

United has a banner up on its main page where you can click to donate to Americares, Feeding America and the Red Cross, and United will donate up to $50,000 to match contributions plus it will give MileagePlus members who donate 250 miles for a minimum donation of $50, or 500 miles for a donation of $100 or more.

Last year, the Chase Freedom card listed charitable donations as one of its 5% bonus spending categories in quarter 4, but it’s not one this year, unfortunately. If you have the US Banks FlexPerks Visa Signature, you can earn 3x points per dollar of charitable giving. You can read my detailed post on the card for more information, but if you have the card, this could be a great way to donate and get a bonus in the bargain.

If you’d rather donate miles than cash, the Red Cross also has this page listing the airline partners from which you can donate frequent flyer miles, and this page listing credit card and hotel point programs from which you can donate. I would just urge caution, though, because the information appears to be a bit outdated (Continental is listed as a partner) and sometimes miles donations are earmarked for specific projects, so if you do donate, be sure yours are going to the Disaster Relief Fund.

The Salvation Army, which is another excellent organization that manages its funds very carefully, is also taking the lead in Hurricane Sandy relief, and you can donate both United and Delta miles to their efforts. Details here.

Capital One cardholders can donate via the bank’s No Hassle Giving site, which waives transaction processing fees so that your entire donation goes to the charity of your choice – the site works with 1.2 million verified charities, so you have your pick, and there’s even a Hurricane Sandy banner at the top.

There are tons of ways to give – whether it’s by using a credit card or going through an airline that gives you extra points or miles for your donation; or by using those miles or points that have sitting around in your account to help out charities with loyalty program partners.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.