How you can Donate Your Frequent Flier Miles
This may not have been the year you used a lot of your frequent flyer miles or loyalty points, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them wisely while they are inactive on your accounts.
Several airlines have partnered with nonprofits to convert donated miles into airline tickets that benefit humanitarian, wellness, educational, or environmental initiatives. Some hotel companies, like Hilton, convert loyalty points into cash, for example to help out health care workers and those fighting California wildfires. (Although most airline miles expire after 12 to 36 months of account inactivity, many companies made an exception during the pandemic.)
When you join one of these loyalty programs, here are some ways you can help make the world a better place:
American Airlines: With the airline, you can donate only 1,000 miles to charities including Children’s Flight of Hope, Mercy Medical, and the American Red Cross. To donate, simply log into your mileage account on the American Airlines website.
Hawaiian Airlines: With this airline, you can donate miles to multiple charities in Hawaii and earn up to 100,000 miles per organization, up to half a million miles per year. The airline notes that its 14 participating nonprofits, including the American Cancer Society Hawaii, the Blood Bank of Hawaii, and the Hawaiian Humane Society, operate with limited resources. To donate, log in to the Hawaiian Airlines website with your mileage number.
Delta Airlines: The airline’s SkyWish program allows frequent flyers to donate miles to multiple charities. This includes the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, which connects researchers from around the world and Luke’s Wings, who uses donated miles to transport wounded veterans. The airline recently announced that it will donate up to 50 million SkyBonus points to various organizations. focusing on women or minority owned businesses; Organizations can apply for donated miles on the SkyBonus website until January 31, 2021.
United: Miles on a Mission allows travelers to donate miles to nearly 40 nonprofits through their crowdsourcing platform, which charities can use to earn miles for specific trips. United will earn the first 125,000 miles for each organization.
Give a mile: Kevin Crowe, a technology manager based in Calgary, Canada, started his nonprofit in 2013 to fly families and support their loved ones in critical and palliative care settings. The volunteer-run organization has operated more than 720 flights with more than 23 million miles donated through Aeroplan, Air Canada’s loyalty program. Travelers can donate miles on the Give A Mile website. Applications from families financially affected by the virus have increased 75 percent year over year, according to Crowe.
Miles4Migrants: As of 2016, this non-profit has raised more than 56 million miles donated to rescue refugees and asylum seekers. Travelers can commit any number of miles from any airline on the Miles4Migrants website. Communications director Annette Ross noted that recently, about 65 percent of frequent flyer miles were used in US borderline cases and the rest worldwide, including Sudan, Syria and Afghanistan.
Hyatt: World of Hyatt points can now be used for free three-day vacation for healthcare workers at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, one of the hardest hit areas of the pandemic. Point donations can be made on the World of Hyatt website. The hotel works with American Airlines on vacation flights and has awarded over 3,000 trips to date.
Hilton: Redeem your Hilton Honors points to support the pandemic and forest fire relief on the West Coast on this website, among others. Points are converted into monetary donations and distributed to a charity of your choice.