Miles4Migrants honored with TPG’s Impact Award for work with Afghan refugees

Nov 4, 2021

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Airlines Week banner for the 2021 TPG Awards

When President Joe Biden announced the U.S. withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan on April 14, 2021, the countdown to evacuate from the country began. The original deadline for withdrawal was Sept. 11, 2021, the 20th anniversary of 9/11, but in early July, the president moved the deadline up to Aug. 31.

That move accelerated the need to evacuate Afghan citizens who helped U.S. troops during a 20-year nation-building effort in their country. The U.S. evacuated more than 120,000 people, including 65,000 Afghans, according to the Brookings Institute.

But not everyone eligible was able to get seats on evacuation flights. That’s where TPG partner Miles4Migrants — this year’s winner of our Impact Award — stepped in. The mission of this 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity, created in 2016, is to use donated airline miles and money to book flights to fly displaced persons separated by conflict and persecution to safe new homes. It partners with other nonprofits to identify refugees, asylum-seekers and immediate family members who have legal approval to travel but can’t afford airfare.

Related: Why we love Miles4Migrants and how you can give points to those in need

Miles4Migrants is an incredible organization that uses travel as a force for good — something that our team here at The Points Guy is also very passionate about, said Mary Kate Heaney, TPG’s senior marketing and communications manager.

“When the crisis struck in Afghanistan, The Points Guy and Lonely Planet knew we had to use our industry connections and platforms to do whatever we could to help,” she said. “It was a pleasure to work with Cat Cooke, marketing and content manager, and the entire Miles4Migrants team on this campaign, and we are so inspired by the incredible work that they do all around the world.”

At the end of the five-week campaign, we raised 5,561,479 miles (worth nearly $120,000), received more than $1,487 in flight vouchers and — thanks to TPG and Lonely Planet matches — raised $30,275 in cash donations. Miles4Migrants said it was the second-highest number of miles contributed from any partner campaign and also one of the highest cash amounts they’ve been able to raise.

And it was enough to fly around 500 people to safety.

Of course, the organization’s efforts extend beyond Afghanistan. Since its founding, Miles4Migrants has helped more than 8,000 people across 73 countries of origin by redeeming over 96 million points and miles. It’s now at more than 10,000 people flown, 150+ miles redeemed and $3.6 million in value of the flights it’s booked.

The donations you make are used to book travel for individuals and families from spots like Lebanon, Yemen, Turkey, Guatemala, Palestine, Sudan, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Syria, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti and Honduras.

Related: Update on TPG and Lonely Planet efforts to help Miles4Migrants save refugees

Miles4Migrants accepts donations from the following airlines and loyalty programs:

The nonprofit has direct relationships with Alaska, Aeroplan and United, meaning you can donate directly into their pooled account, giving Miles4Migrants greater flexibility and efficiency to book flights for refugees. And Miles4Migrants emphasizes that it accepts donations from almost every rewards program, not just the ones listed above. “In fact, by far, our most urgently needed programs right now are Delta and United, which aren’t on that list, said Cat Cooke, who oversees marketing and content for the nonprofit organization.

You can also donate travel vouchers and cash. Miles4Migrants currently accepts vouchers from Alaska Airlines, United, Southwest, JetBlue Airways and Allegiant Air.

Related: How you can donate your points and miles to charity

For all these reasons, the Points Guy is delighted to spotlight and honor the work of Miles4Migrants with this year’s Impact Award.

Donate your airline miles, credit card points and travel vouchers anytime via this landing page: miles4migrants.org/TPGLP.

Featured photo by Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

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