United partners with Miles4Migrants to reunite refugee families
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
A major airline has lent its weight to the efforts by points-and-miles collectors to reunite refugee families separated by the federal government’s controversial immigration policies.
United Airlines has partnered with Miles4Migrants, a nonprofit organization that started out as a group of Redditors who shared loyalty-program tips and wanted to use their knowledge and saved points to help asylum seekers and refugees. United MileagePlus members can now donate their saved miles to buy flights to bring together migrant families who have been separated.
“I hope United is setting an example for other airlines to follow, so I look forward to seeing Delta, American and other airlines follow suit and take United’s example as the right path forward,” Andy Freedman, Miles4Migrant’s co-founder and managing director, said in a phone interview Tuesday.
Since the group formed in 2016, it’s reunited over 600 families from 48 countries using over 27 million frequent-flyer miles worth over $700,000. United’s helping out by donating 50,000 miles and allowing M4M to pool their miles instead of having to work through donors’ loyalty accounts. The catch is that the group has to hit its goal of getting 5 millions miles in donations in the next 28 days. Individual donations can be as small as 1,000 miles.
“We soft-launched Friday to the public and have already earned 1.1 miles through the campaign,” Freedman said.
Though M4M originally focused on reuniting refugee families split abroad, the Trump administration’s hardline stance on immigration caused the group to pivot. Now, international and border-crossing cases each make up about half of the nonprofit’s workload.
M4M’s United partnership through the airline’s crowdfunding platform, Miles on a Mission, is part of the airline’s philanthropic Every Action Counts program. The 11 other inaugural participants include organizations to help homeless veterans, disabled veterans, rescued dogs stranded in storm-damaged Puerto Rico, Houston’s Holocaust museum and to provide educational opportunities for disadvantaged youth. Miles4Migrants is the only one, however, to reach for the program’s maximum goal of 5 million miles.
Sharon Grant, vice president and chief community engagement officer at United Airlines, said in a phone interview that United chose groups like Miles4Migrants for the program because the airline wants to make it clear to loyalty members that their donated points have real power that can bring concrete results to the real world.
“This gives our members that real-time connection: ‘I donated this and knew what they were going to do, and now I can celebrate in that success,'” Grant said. “Through the power of our miles, we’re helping these organizations, and you can use miles to help the cause you have a passion for. It’s a way to help with your loyalty miles.”
The airline stressed that the program only provides legally approved travel cleared by the receiving country’s government for migration or family-reunification purposes.
Featured image courtesy of Miles4Migrants.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees