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Hospitality industry and airlines help Ukrainian refugees

March 05, 2022
6 min read
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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has now forced more than 1 million people to flee across Ukrainian borders, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, said in a Tweet on Wednesday. Most refugees are heading to European Union countries via Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary, said EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson.

Many more Ukrainian refugees will certainly be seeking assistance in the coming days and weeks. And help is pouring in from around the world in many forms from people, organizations and companies, including those in the hospitality and transportation sectors.

Here’s a roundup of some of the ways that help is coming and ways that you can add your support.

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airbnb offers 100,000 rooms

On Monday, February 28, Airbnb and its nonprofit partner, Airbnb.org, announced an offer of free, short-term housing to up to 100,000 refugees fleeing Ukraine. These stays will be funded by Airbnb, Inc., donors to the Airbnb.org Refugee Fund and many Airbnb hosts.

The offer of support was made via to letters to leaders in Poland, Germany, Hungary and Romania. “While Airbnb.org is committing to facilitate short-term housing for up to 100,000 refugees fleeing Ukraine, it will work closely with governments to best support the specific needs in each country, including by providing longer-term stays,” the company said in a statement.

(Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

A grassroots effort by individuals around the world is joining this effort. We spotted Facebook posts mentioning that some people were booking and paying for nightly and week-long stays in Ukrainian cities and then contacting the hosts directly to let them know that the rooms could be made available to refugees.

Uber offers rides and has an in-app donation button

Rideshare company Uber said that while it had paused operations throughout Ukraine “to protect the safety of drivers and riders,” it would be providing unlimited free trips between the Ukrainian border and Polish cities to help out refugees and their families. Uber is also offering free transportation for staff at Migrant Welcome Centers and for the delivery of goods to warehouses in Poland.

(Photo by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Uber is also adding an in-app donation buttons that will allow riders to donate to the International Rescue Committee and match donations up to $1 million. And it is working with the International Red Cross to transport 60 tons of essential supplies to communities in Ukraine.

Stay the Night, Budget Traveller, Hopper and Virgin Media offer aid

Stay the Night and Budget Traveller are asking any hotels, hostels, hosts and accommodation providers willing to provide accommodation for refugees fleeing Ukraine to add their names to a Hospitality for Ukraine directory the company is putting together.

"In less than a week, we have seen over 100 accommodation providers sign up to our Hospitality for Ukraine platform and offer free accommodation to refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine,” Stay the Night said in a statement. “In the worst times, it is incredibly humbling to see the hospitality industry pull together."

Hopper is making $50,000 in Carrot Cash booking credits available to refugees from Ukraine in need of accommodation assistance. Those seeking help can use this form to apply for up to $200 in Carrot Cash credits.

British telecommunications company Virgin Media O2 said that to help its customers in Ukraine and in the U.K. stay in touch, the company removed charges for data use in Ukraine and is also crediting back charges for calls and texts to and from Ukraine and the U.K. The initial period for this offer is March 6, but it may be extended.

Airlink activates Europe Regional Response Plan

Elsewhere, Airlink, a humanitarian relief organization that connects airlines and nonprofits to help communities in crisis, has activated its Europe Regional Response Plan and is working with its partners to send relief supplies. Individuals may donate cash and/or United Airline miles to help support these efforts.

Throughout March, Wizz Air is making 100,000 free seats available for Ukrainian refugees on flights leaving Ukraine’s border countries (Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania) and low cost ‘rescue’ fares for refugees stranded in other locations. Find more details on that here.

(Photo by Urbanandsport/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

And while Ukraine airspace is closed to civilian aircraft, some individuals are making informal arrangements to donate airline miles to purchase onward tickets for Ukrainian refugees who have made their way to other countries.

Restaurateurs and bakers offering help

Bakers Against Racism has activated its network to mount the global Bake for Ukraine campaign. The group is asking “all bakers, chefs, home cooks, artisans and people from all walks of life to join in an emergency bake sale to raise funds for those who are providing food, shelter, transportation, and medical services.”

And José Andrés’s nonprofit World Central Kitchen is serving meals to Ukrainian refugees at eight border crossings in southern Poland. The organization is supporting local restaurants preparing meals in five Ukrainian cities, including Odessa and Lviv, WCK said on its website. And WCK teams are on the ground in Romania and Moldova and will soon be in Slovakia and Hungary. To help with this effort, donate here.

More way to help the people of Ukraine

In addition to organizations listed in this TPG article, there are hundreds of other vetted and legitimate organizations helping Ukrainian people and refugees, including Doctors without Borders, the Ukrainian Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross.f

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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  • 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
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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