Did you know that you can donate your travel miles? If you’ve racked up miles that you can’t or won’t use, there are plenty of ways to give them to organizations that can put them to good use. Charities and nonprofits can use them to help people in need and you can feel good about giving back. If you don’t have the time for volunteer work but have been looking for a way to support a worthy cause, this is an easy option. Whether you’ve collected your miles from previous flights, credit card purchases, or hotel stays, you can give the gift of travel to those who need it most.
We often think of donating money or making in-kind donations to charities and organizations, but these groups also need to make travel arrangements for the work they do. Organizations like March of Dimes, American Cancer Society, and Shriners Hospitals for Children make arrangements for patients to travel in order to receive medical care. Hero Miles and Honor Flight Network transport veterans, and having flight miles offsets the cost of travel. Some organizations use the miles for their volunteers and employees to fly to the locations around the world where they are needed.
Working with an airline
If you’re not sure which organization you want to give your miles to, you can go through an airline company. There are sometimes specific qualifications, like minimum mileage requirements, but those vary from airline to airline, so just check ahead with the company of your choosing. American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, and United Airlines all have programs that accept gifts of travel miles. Charities that support youth, community, health, animal, and environmental issues are all represented in the various airline programs. This ensures you will find a cause you feel strongly about and will encourage you to donate as much as you can.
Some of the airline companies, like Delta, also let you split your miles to donate to multiple charities. Hawaiian Airlines also offers a donation option, and they match up to 500,000 miles. If you support organizations that work locally, this is a great option since all of the charities that Hawaiian Airlines supports are local.
Straight to the source
You can also choose to donate directly to a charity you support. The Make-A-Wish Foundation uses miles to give recipients the gift of a lifetime, flying them all over the world to take part in that one thing they’ve wished to do. This organization needs tons of miles to grant all of the wishes they recieve, so rest assured that whatever you donate to them will get used.
Any group that needs travel miles is an option. Just reach out to your favorite charity to coordinate your donation with them. Cutting out the airline middleman means a little extra work for you, but not much. A little communication can go a long way to make sure this process runs smoothly. Charity organizations cannot accept your miles the same way an airline could, but with a little maneuvering it will all work out the same. Your miles can be given to nonprofits in the form of award tickets. This works by getting the travel information directly from the organization and using your miles to redeem a ticket for them. This is a great option if the group you want to support is small or local, or if you’d like to have a more hands-on role in the donation.
The process for donating your miles is simple and the airline websites will walk you through the steps. Regardless of which group or organization you choose to support, these donations do a lot of good for both community and global causes. When you’re going through a significant or difficult life event, having travel arrangements sorted out is helpful. The people that these miles will go to are often overwhelmed with all that is happening in their life and your donation means one less thing to worry about. You can keep shopping and traveling and racking up miles, knowing that you’re doing good while having fun.