How you can donate your points and miles to charity

Your points and miles can be used for more than just travel and luxury experiences. They can also be a powerful tool for giving back and making a difference in the lives of others. While it may not always provide the highest cent per point return, donating your points and miles can have a significant impact on charitable causes and those in need.

As the holiday season approaches and you reflect on what you have to be thankful for, you may also be considering ways to show generosity and help those less fortunate. Giving Tuesday, which falls on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, is the perfect opportunity to put your points and miles to work for a good cause. Here are some ways you can use your rewards to support charitable organizations:

1. Miles4Migrants: Miles4Migrants is a non-profit organization that accepts donations of frequent flyer miles and uses them to book airfare for migrants with financial hardships. Since its inception in 2016, Miles4Migrants has helped over 40,000 people, including refugees and asylum-seekers, using over 775 million points and miles. You can donate from rewards, airline loyalty programs, and credit card programs. The minimum donation is typically between 1,000 to 47,500 points or miles, depending on the program. Once you submit a pledge, Miles4Migrants will match the miles donated to an individual in need. The organization will update you with the recipient’s photo and story to show how your contribution has made a difference.

2. JustGiving: JustGiving is a fundraising platform that partners with over 1.5 million non-profit organizations, including the Malala Fund. If you have an American Express Membership Rewards-earning card, you can donate your points to a charity of your choice through JustGiving. After creating an account and linking your eligible card, you can apply your points at checkout. While the value of your Membership Rewards points is lower (0.7 cents each) compared to TPG’s value (2 cents each), donating points instead of cash can still help offset your donation.

3. Give a Mile: Give a Mile is an organization that helps loved ones come together to give their final goodbyes. It has provided close to 1,000 flights using over 36 million donated miles. Give a Mile primarily operates using Aeroplan miles but also accepts donations from United MileagePlus and other programs.

4. Donating credit card points: Some credit cards, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, allow you to redeem your Ultimate Rewards points toward donations to eligible nonprofit organizations. Until at least the end of the year, Chase Sapphire Reserve customers can redeem their points at a value of 1.5 cents each, while Sapphire Preferred Card customers can redeem their points at a value of 1.25 cents each. Citi also offers charity partner redemption options, allowing you to donate ThankYou Rewards points to a set list of nonprofits at a rate of 1 cent apiece.

5. Donating airline miles: Many frequent flyer programs offer the option to donate your miles to partner organizations. Check with your preferred airline program for more information on the charities you can support with your airline miles. Donating your miles through these partnerships can be a great way to give back, especially if you have smaller balances of points and miles that you won’t use.

6. Donating hotel loyalty points: In addition to airline loyalty programs, several hotel loyalty programs also offer donation opportunities. Hilton Honors has its Giving Back program, where every 10,000 points donated will result in a $25 donation to a charity. Marriott Bonvoy is currently matching point donations to support World Central Kitchen, the World Wildlife Fund, and the Legal Defense Fund. IHG One Rewards also allows you to donate your points to various charitable causes.

While it’s important to note that points and miles donations are typically not tax deductible, as the IRS considers them a gift from a corporation or individual, donating your rewards can still make a significant impact. If you plan to donate large amounts, it’s advisable to consult a tax professional to explore your options.

In conclusion, using your points and miles for charitable causes can be a meaningful way to give back and make a difference in someone’s life. Whether you choose to donate your rewards to organizations like Miles4Migrants, JustGiving, Give a Mile, or through credit card, airline, or hotel loyalty programs, your small contribution can have a huge impact. This holiday season, consider using your points and miles to help those in need and spread the joy of giving.

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