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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here: The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express,Chase Freedom Unlimited
Hurricane Irma has been downgraded to a tropical storm, but it’s still causing damage in the southeast US and leading to the cancellation of thousands of flights.
Before the storm even dissipates, airlines are already launching programs to encourage donations to the recovery effort. In addition to being rewarded for helping those in need, these programs are also great for extending the expiration date of your miles. The mileage-earning activity will bump the expiration date of your miles another 18 months.
While not specifically targeted to Hurricane Irma recovery efforts, American Airlines is still offering 10 AAdvantage miles for every $1 donated to the American Red Cross now through September 24. You must donate at least $25 to earn miles on the donation. All major credit cards and PayPal are accepted. Terms state that “mileage will appear on mileage statements within 30 days of donations being made.”
This program was launched as a Hurricane Harvey recovery effort and donors have certainly stepped up to make donations. As of this writing, 5,480 donors have contributed $1,281,429 for a whopping $234 average donation amount. AA hasn’t established a maximum for its 10x mileage offer.
Originally launched as a Hurricane Harvey relief program, United has expanded its Crowdrise donation platform to also include donations toward Hurricane Irma. United is matching the first $200,000 in donations to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts and another $100,000 for Hurricane Irma recovery. In addition, United will also reward donors with United MileagePlus award miles for donations.
Now through September 30, donors will earn:
- Donate $50-$99 – Earn 250 bonus miles (up to 5x miles per $1 for $50 donation)
- Donate $100-$249 – Earn 500 bonus miles (up to 5x miles per $1 for $100 donation)
- Donate $250 or more – Earn 1,000 bonus miles (up to 4x miles per $1 for $250 donation)
Digging into the terms and conditions, you’ll see that you can only earn a mileage bonus for one donation per MileagePlus account. So, choose wisely when making your first donation. United is capping mileage bonuses for Irma donations to a total of 13 million miles “on a first-come, first-served basis.” Hopefully, this cap will be hit… but it’d require at least $2.6 million in donations before this possibly becomes an issue.
Which Card to Use
For those not working on meeting a minimum spend on a credit card, use the best non-bonus category credit card for your situation. Based on TPG’s valuations, the Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express’s 2x Membership Rewards on the first $50,000 per year; then 1x thereafter or Chase Freedom Unlimited’s 1.5x Ultimate Rewards points would be the two most rewarding choices.
We will continue to update this page as we see other donation offers. Please share below if you’ve found another program.
Featured image by Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images.
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