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How to donate points and miles to help Ukraine; American Express to match donations

April 07, 2022
10 min read
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with the latest information.


On Feb. 24, international order was instantly uprooted by Russia’s invasion of the sovereign state of Ukraine. The effects of the invasion cannot be overstated. More than 10 million civilians have already fled Ukraine, according to the United Nations, and the attacks have unfortunately continued.

Governments across the Western world are continuing to place heavy sanctions on Russia while many businesses and major brands are stopping activity in the country. Many Western countries have closed their airspace to Russian carriers, while major hotel brands paused projects in Russia.

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Throughout the chaos, however, one must not forget the consequences of the Russian invasion on Ukrainian civilians.

TPG and sister company Lonely Planet donated a combined total of $20,000 to help those most affected by the crisis in Ukraine. And we encourage you to help, too.

Beyond just donating cash, you can donate credit card, airline and hotel points to various causes that support those affected by the crisis in Ukraine. Let’s take a closer look at how to do this and which causes you can support with your points.

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

Donate American Express points

American Express offers several ways to donate your points.

One way is through the PayPal Giving Fund. For each Membership Rewards point that you donate American Express will send 0.7 cents to the organization of your choice. So, if you donate 10,000 points, $70 will be donated.

However, from April 7 through June 15, 2022, American Express will match the value of each donation with PayPal Giving to an eligible charity in support of humanitarian relief efforts in Ukraine and affected parts of Europe. So, 10,000 points would result in a $140 donation. Eligible charities include the International Rescue Committee, the International Medical Corps, the American Red Cross, UNICEF, Save the Children and USA for UNHCR.

(Screenshot from paypal.com)

Alternatively, you can donate your Membership Rewards points to an organization of your choice through American Express' partnership with JustGiving.

Again, for each Membership Rewards point that you donate, American Express will send 0.7 cents to the organization of your choice. Just note that the donation match does not extend to donations made through JustGiving.

When you visit the JustGiving website, scroll down to the search bar and enter the word “Ukraine” to search for an organization.

(Screenshot from justgiving.com)

There are numerous Ukrainian causes that you can donate to via JustGiving, but in order to use your Membership Rewards points, the charity has to be U.S.-based. Although this restriction definitely limits your options, you can donate to organizations like United Help Ukraine and Nova Ukraine. Both of these work broadly to help those affected by the crisis, providing humanitarian aid and evacuation assistance.

There are numerous causes, and you can read through the list here. Again, keep in mind that you’re looking for a U.S.-based organization if you want to use your Membership Rewards points.

A variety of ways to donate using your American Express points. (Screenshot from justgiving.com)

To use your points, find a U.S.-based charity you’d like to support, and start the donation process. When you’re prompted to select your payment method, enter the credentials of an American Express card linked to your Membership Rewards account.

Select “credit or debit card.” (Screenshot from justgiving.com)

Although this might give you the impression that your American Express card will be charged, do not worry. On the next screen, you’ll find a place where you can apply your Membership Rewards points.

Apply your Membership Rewards points as you see fit to your donation. (Screenshot from justgiving.com)

Donate Hilton Honors points

You can also donate to organizations providing aid during the Ukraine crisis using your Hilton Honors points via PointWorthy, starting at just 4,000 points (which converts to a $10 donation that Hilton Honors will send). At that rate, if you donate 40,000 points, Hilton Honors will send $100 to the organization of your choice. Unlike other gifts of points or miles, these donations typically are tax-deductible.

You can visit the PointWorthy website here.

Similar to JustGiving, if you don’t have a charity already in mind, you can type “Ukraine” into the search bar and read about some of the organizations that you can donate to.

Related: Major hotel brands are providing rooms to Ukrainian refugees while pausing projects in Russia

(Screenshot from pointworthy.com)

Once you arrive at the results page, you’ll find numerous charities available. While all of these causes have their own unique value, you might consider independently researching how each is responding to the Ukraine crisis. For example, although educational funds are extremely important, if you are most called to provide relief, that would be something to keep in mind.

(Screenshot from pointworthy.com)

Related: The best credit cards to maximize your charitable donation

Donate United MileagePlus miles

 

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Through United’s partnership with Airlink Flight, Americares, the American Red Cross and World Central Kitchen, you can put your MileagePlus miles to use by supporting these organizations as they respond to the crisis in Ukraine.

United has a designated Ukraine landing page. To donate, you can visit the Miles on a Mission homepage. Once you are there, you can select the organization that you want to donate to, and you will be prompted to log in to your MileagePlus account.

You can donate as many miles as you want with a minimum of 1,000 miles.

Select how many miles you wish to donate. (Screenshot from donate.mileageplus.com)

United is matching up to 5 million miles in donations and up to $100,000 in cash donations. If you donate by April 15, you can earn the following on a cash donation:

  • Members who donate $50-$99 will receive 250 MileagePlus bonus award miles.
  • Members who donate $100-$249 will receive 500 bonus award miles.
  • Members who donate $250 or more will receive 1,000 bonus award miles.

Cash donations may be tax-deductible.

(Screenshot from donate.mileageplus.com)

Donate Delta SkyMiles

(Screenshot from delta.com)

Delta Air Lines allows its SkyMiles members to donate miles here.

Although its list of charities isn’t as expansive as United’s, there are still a couple of organizations that are responding to the Ukraine crisis, like the American Red Cross and UNICEF. With a minimum of 1,000 miles per single donation, you can allocate your donations as you please with up to five recipients in each donation.

(Screenshot from delta.com)

Donate JetBlue points

(Screenshot from trueblue.jetblue.com)

JetBlue has an impressive list of donation partners. With a minimum of just 500 points required for each donation, you can select multiple charities and donate up to 500,000 points. Some of JetBlue’s charities that are responding to the Ukraine crisis are World Central Kitchen, Americares and the American Red Cross.

(Screenshot from trueblue.jetblue.com)

Donate IHG points

IHG recently sent an email to many of its members encouraging them to donate points to CARE International and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to help the crisis in Ukraine. According to the email, IHG is making, “a significant donation” to these two partners and has invited its members to donate as well.

You can donate your points here in either 2,500; 5,000; or 10,000 point increments.

(Screenshot courtesy of catalog.ihg.com)

Bottom line

We often write about how you can make the most from a credit card welcome-bonus redemption to visit the corners of the globe, but now is the time to help those in need in Ukraine. As travelers who maximize the world of points and miles, it’s important to be aware of the challenges of our time.

So consider donating a chunk of your points and miles. Your donation, regardless of size, can make a difference.

Additional reporting by Benji Stawski.

Featured image by Future Publishing via Getty Imag
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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  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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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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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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  • 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

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  • Annual Fee

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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.

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  • 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