5 Ways Charities Can Maximize Their Points
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
I'm a firm believer that points and miles can be used for much more than just traveling in luxurious first-class products at 35,000 feet. Here at The Points Guy, we've been donating points and miles for some time, whether it's to save LGBT lives or to make it possible for kids with life-threatening medical conditions to have their travel-related wishes come true via the Make-A-Wish foundation.
Today, I'm sharing some of our top tips at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Goalkeepers event. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation aims to do good both domestically by working to expand educational opportunities, and abroad by aiming to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty.
The Goalkeepers event combines stories and data to demonstrate progress in global health. This year, the three general themes are purpose-driven technology, global heath and women and girls. As a speaker at the event — and a supporter of peaceful world change — I'm thrilled to announce that today I'm donating five million miles to the women and girls accelerator.
The five million miles, which I've earned from business spend on advertising and other expenses, are in addition to the other work I'm doing to help in making a difference. I'm also working with organizations to teach them on how to best maximize their points and miles. If you're a part of a non-profit organization that strives to improve the lives of women and girls and could use points and miles, I want to hear from you. Visit thepointsguy.com/goalkeepers and fill out the information for your organization — what the organization does and how it would use points and miles to make a difference.
Below, I am highlighting five tips on how non-profit organizations can use points and miles for a greater good.
1. Sign up for Business Frequent Flyer Accounts
Business frequent flyer accounts are great for charitable organizations. If your organization signs up for American, Delta or United's business frequent flyer programs, employees will continue to earn their personal miles. However, at the same time, your organization will earn miles of its own. It's like double dipping. Check out this post for more details on the different loyalty programs for small businesses.
2. Earn Transferable Points
When looking at credit cards for your non-profit, get one that will earn you transferable points. That means: Don't sign up for one that will lock you into using points or miles specific to one company. Instead, get one that will earn points that can be used to transfer to a variety of partners (airlines and hotels). There are three major transferable points currencies:
- American Express Membership Rewards — Learn more about maximizing Membership Rewards here
- Chase Ultimate Rewards — Learn more about maximizing Ultimate Rewards here
- Citi ThankYou Points — Learn more about maximizing ThankYou points here
3. Buy All Supplies Through Shopping Portals
One of the best ways to earn airline points and miles has nothing to do with flying. It's about simple spending. Yes, your next flight can be earned without setting foot on a plane. All you need to do is make purchases at your preferred airline's shopping portal and pay through the window that pops up to make sure you get the bonus miles.
4. Use Business Credit Cards That Reward the Way Your Business Spends
Think of what your organization spends the most on, and then get a credit card to maximize that spend. If it's travel, you'll want the Business Platinum Card® from American Express. Spend a lot on Google Ads? Consider the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card or the Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN. Check out this post for more on the most valuable business credit cards and help in choosing which one is the best for you.
5. Take Advantage of Cash Back When It Makes Sense
Don't shy away from those cash-back credit cards and the opportunities they present for rewards. For example, with the Chase Ink Business Cash Card, you'll earn 5% cash back on the first combined $25,000 spent each year at office supply stores and internet, cable and phone services. You'll also get 2% cash back on the first combined $25,000 spent each year at gas stations and restaurants and 1% cash back on everything else. You can then use those savings toward non-travel expenses, such as employee incentives in the form of gift cards.
Non-profits can and should be maximizing their points and miles just like any for-profit organization. It took some time to amass five million miles, and now that time will pay off in the form of aid to women and girls around the world thanks to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. I'm honored to be part of this solution.