As doctors and nurses are fighting the coronavirus pandemic on the front lines, millions of others are looking for their own way to help others during these tough times. Many are donating cash and supplies to food banks, for instance, but not everyone has the means to do so. A lot of people are out of work or struggling to get food for themselves as is.
If you want to give back but aren’t sure if you have the means to, there are other types of donations you can make. Airlines, hotel chains, and credit card companies have all stepped up to expand ways people can make charitable donations during the pandemic. If you’re considering making a donation like this, here’s what to know and how to do it.
How Donating Points and Miles Helps
You might be wondering how exactly these kinds of donations will make a difference, but they can do more than you may think. First off, many people have points, miles, or rewards that they never end up using, so not only does donating give you a way to utilize them before they expire but it’s for a good cause too.
A tangible example of how something like airline miles can make a big impact for a charity is Fisher House’s Hero Miles initiative. The organization is partnered with five major airlines to turn donated miles into flights for military veterans. Some will allow veterans to reconnect with family, and others will help them relocate to new places after leaving the service. The Hotels for Heroes program operates similarly, but with hotel points. It just goes to show that there are plenty of ways to make a charitable donation that makes a difference.
Donating Hotel Points
Not all hotel chains have a streamlined process to donate points, but Marriott, Wyndham, Radisson, Best Western, and Hilton all do. Not every program works exactly the same, for instance, Hilton converts 10,000 donated points into a $25 donation, while Marriott does 10,000 points for $40, but each brand has a straightforward process for turning your points into charitable donations. Most hotels offer a wide array of partnered charities too, so you should have no problem finding a cause you care about.
Donating Airline Miles
Most major airlines, including Delta, American, JetBlue, United, and Southwest, partner with charities and allow you to donate miles. If you’re already a loyalty program member with your airline of choice, actually donating your miles should be pretty simple. After you log in, the airline should show you its partnered charities, and allow you to easily donate any unused points or miles you’ve accrued.
The Bottom Line
In times like these, every dollar donated goes a bit further. Giving airline miles and hotel points to charities may not be a conventional way to give back, but these methods can still make a big impact. If you have any miles or points leftover in your account, consider donating them through your hotel or airline rewards program. Even if your loyalty program doesn’t have an easy charity redemption option, see if you can redeem your points for cash and donate whatever it converts too!