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How you can donate your points and miles to charity

July 07, 2022
11 min read
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As much as we love to earn points and miles, we’ve learned to not hoard them, as they can be devalued at any time. In fact, we here on the TPG team have accrued lots of miles throughout the pandemic that many of us likely won’t redeem anytime soon.

Donating points and miles can be a great way to give back without shelling out any cash. It’s also an easy way to extend the validity of your points by resetting the expiration clock on your remaining balance.

Even small contributions can make a huge difference in another person’s life, so it’s worth learning how your unused points and miles can be put to good use.

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Here are some of the best opportunities to donate your points and miles to charity.

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Miles4Migrants

Founded in 2016, Miles4Migrants is a nonprofit that accepts donations of frequent flyer miles and uses them to book airfare for migrants with financial hardships. From refugees to asylum-seekers, Miles4Migrants has helped over 30,00 people using over 370 million points and miles.

You can donate from a range of airline loyalty programs and credit card rewards, including:

To donate, you will need to pledge a minimum of 1,000 to 47,500 points or miles, depending on the program. Once you submit a pledge, the flight booking team at Miles4Migrants will match the miles donated to an individual in need. Keep in mind that the matching process can take weeks. Miles4Migrants will update you with the recipient’s photo and story of how your contribution has helped them.

Besides frequent flyer miles, you can also donate travel vouchers and cash. Miles4Migrants currently accepts most vouchers from Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest, JetBlue, Allegiant Air and others. Additionally, cash donations also help to cover any award taxes, fees and surcharges.

How it works

A TPG staffer recently pledged to donate 15,000 JetBlue TrueBlue points. Shortly after, they received an email thanking them for their donation along with information on the next steps. They filled out a Google form with their contact information. Sometimes the turnover is fast, so you’ll want to provide the best way the organization can reach you. Miles4Migrants will also ask if you have a preference of whom you’d like your miles to be used for and how you’d like the reservation to be made.

(Screenshot from Miles4Migrants)

You will need to sign an electronic donor agreement and then provide your contact information to the flight booking team so they can discuss the use of your miles with you.

JustGiving

JustGiving is a fundraising platform that has more than 1.5 million nonprofits registered, including Malala Fund. American Express has partnered with JustGiving, so you can donate your Membership Rewards points to a charity of your choice.

(Screenshot from justgiving.com)

To participate in this program, you must have an Amex Membership Rewards-earning card. Once you create an account and link your eligible card, you can apply your points at checkout. The donation amount can be covered entirely or partially by points.

When donating, your Membership Rewards points are worth 0.7 cents each, which is lower than TPG’s value of 2 cents apiece. Despite that, donating points instead of using cash at checkout can help offset your donation and is a solid option to consider.

Related: The best credit cards to maximize your nonprofit donation

Donating credit card points to charity

Amex points aren’t the only credit card points that can be donated to charity. Another easy way to make donations using credit card points is by using a fixed-value card to pay for donations and then using your points to “pay” for the charge on your statement.

As a part of Chase’s Pay Yourself Back feature, Chase Sapphire Reserve customers and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card customers can redeem Ultimate Rewards toward donations to eligible nonprofit organizations at 1.5 cents and 1.25 cents, respectively, until Sept. 31. Eligible nonprofits include the following mix of social and racial justice, humanitarian aid and hunger relief organizations:

  • American Red Cross.
  • Equal Justice Initiative.
  • Feeding America.
  • Habitat for Humanity.
  • International Medical Corps.
  • International Rescue Committee.
  • Leadership Conference Education Fund.
  • NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
  • National Urban League.
  • Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
  • UNICEF USA.
  • United Negro College Fund.
  • United Way.
  • World Central Kitchen.

Citi also recently announced new charity partner redemption options. You can now donate ThankYou Rewards points at a rate of 1 cent apiece to the following nonprofits:

  • American Red Cross.
  • No Kid Hungry.
  • Smile Train.
  • Susan G. Komen.
  • World Central Kitchen.
  • UNICEF USA.
  • UNICEF Kid Power.
(Screenshot from citi.com)

Donating airline miles to charity

Many frequent flyer programs offer an option to donate your rewards to organizations they partner with. Note that this is not an entirely comprehensive list.

Loyalty programCharitiesImportant information
Alaska Airlines Mileage PlanAlaska Airlines Disaster Relief Pool

Alaska Airlines Miles for Youth

Angel Flight West

Dream Foundation

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Foundation

Fisher House Foundation (Hero Miles)

Honor Flight Network

Make-A-Wish Foundation

Medical Teams International

National Forest Foundation

The Nature Conservancy

Seattle Children’s Hospital

United Negro College Fund

A minimum donation of 1,000 miles is required.
American Airlines AAdvantageMiles for Social Good

Miles for Global Health and Well-Being

Miles for Heroes

Miles for Our Planet

If you have fewer than 1,000 miles in your account, then you can donate all of them.
Delta SkyMilesAmerican Red Cross

Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Canine Assistants

Care

Children’s Miracle Network

Fisher House Foundation (Hero Miles)

Habitat for Humanity

Junior Achievement USA

Luke’s Wings

Make-A-Wish Foundation

Polaris

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

The Nature Conservancy

The Salvation Army

UNICEF

In addition to the U.S.-based charities, you can donate to charities in Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

You can donate to up to five charities in one transaction.

The minimum donation amount varies by charity.

Frontier Airlines MilesAustin Pets Alive!

American Red Cross

Make-A-Wish Foundation

Fisher House Foundation (Hero Miles)

Shriners Hospital

Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation

To donate, you must call 801-401-9003 in order to complete your transaction.

Frontier has an “all or nothing” policy, meaning that you must elect to donate all of the miles in your account.

Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMilesAmerican Cancer Society Hawaii Pacific

American Red Cross of Hawaii

Big Brothers Big Sisters Hawaii

Blood Bank of Hawaii

The Coral Reef Alliance

Friends of Hokulea and Hawaiiloa

Hawaiian Humane Society

HUGS (Help, Understanding & Group Support)

Make-A-Wish Hawaii

Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project

National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii

Shriners Hospital for Children of Honolulu

Special Olympics Hawaii

Surfrider Foundation Oahu

There is no minimum number of miles you must donate.
JetBlue Airways TrueBlue Rewards

American Red Cross

American Repertory Theater

Americares

Angel Flight

Carbonfund.org

Concern Worldwide

Cradle of Aviation

DoSomething.org

Dream Project

First Book

Kaboom!

Make-A-Wish Foundation

Miles4Migrants

Save the Music Foundation

The Center

The JetBlue Foundation

The Public Theater

The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative

USO of Metropolitan of New York

Wildlife Conservation Society

A minimum donation of 500 points is required.
Southwest Airlines Rapid RewardsHonor Flight Network

Hispanic Heritage Foundation

Ronald McDonald House Charities

Student Conservation Association

Polaris

Team Rubicon

United Negro College Fund

A minimum donation of 500 points is required, with a daily maximum of 60,000 points.
United Airlines MileagePlusAir Camp

Airlink Flight

American Red Cross

Americares Foundation

Conservation International

Dream Foundation

Fisher House Foundation (Hero Miles)

Global Glimpse

Good360

Guide Dogs of America

Make-A-Wish International

Make-A-Wish America

MD Anderson Cancer Center

Mercy Medical Angels

Miles4Migrants

Shriners Hospital

Special Olympics

The Ayuda Foundation

Transplant Recipients International Organization

USO

World Central Kitchen

A minimum donation of 1,000 miles is required.

Giving back through these partnerships can be a great way to donate smaller balances of points and miles. It’s also one of the easiest ways to keep your miles from expiring.

International airlines have similar charity partnerships. If you have mileage balances with Lufthansa, Emirates, Virgin Atlantic or Aeroplan, you can offer those up to charity too.

Donating hotel loyalty points to charity

In addition to airline loyalty programs, these hotel loyalty programs offer donation opportunities.

Loyalty programCharitiesImportant information
Hilton HonorsAmerican Cancer Society

American Indian College Fund

American Red Cross

Arthritis Foundation

Arbor Day Foundation

Books for Kids Foundation

City of Hope

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

DonorsChoose

GlobalGiving

Global Soap Project

Grammy Foundation

Habitat for Humanity

Hispanic Scholarship Fund

International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Kids Help Phone

Livestrong Foundation

Make-A-Wish Foundation

National Coalition for the Homeless

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society

The Nature Conservancy

Operation Homefront

Operation Hug-A-Hero

Room to Read

Special Olympics

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

U.S Olympic & Paralympic Teams

World Vision

World Wildlife Fund

For every 10,000 points you donate, Hilton Honors will send $25 to that charity.

A minimum donation of 10,000 points is required.

You can also donate to practically any 501(c)(3) organization via PointWorthy from just 4,000 points ($10 donation). Unlike other gifts of points or miles, these donations typically are tax deductible.

Marriott BonvoyAl Jalila Foundation

Amazonas Sustainable Foundation

American Red Cross

Arbor Day Foundation

Arne M. Sorenson Hospitality Fund

Asian University for Women

Bridges from School to Work

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

Clean the World

ECPAT-USA

Hotels for Heroes

Immigration Equality

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

International Rescue Committee

Marriott International Disaster Relief Fund

My Brother's Keeper

National Park Foundation partnership with Marriott Bonvoy

NAACP Empowerment Programs

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund

National Urban League

Polaris

Prince’s Trust

Prince’s Trust Canada

SOS Children’s Villages

UNICEF

WEConnect International

World Central Kitchen

World Wildlife Fund

Yao Foundation

Youth Career Initiative

A minimum donation of 2,500 points is required.
IHG One RewardsInternational Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent SocietiesYou can choose to donate 2,500, 5,000 or 10,000 IHG reward points at a time.

Bottom line

While the TPG team loves to use points and miles for travel, donating them can go a long way to help someone in need, especially if you’re not traveling right now.

Keep in mind that points and miles donations are typically not considered tax deductible, as the IRS recognizes award points and miles as a gift from a corporation or to the individual. However, if you plan to donate large amounts, you can always contact a tax professional to discuss your options.

Stella Shon contributed to this post.

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

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Rewards

1 - 3X points
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For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases