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How To Donate Miles, Points & Credit Card Rewards to Charity

Christine Krzyszton's image
Christine Krzyszton
Christine Krzyszton's image

Christine Krzyszton

Senior Finance Contributor

305 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 98U.S. States Visited: 45

Christine ran her own business developing and managing insurance and financial services. This stoked a passion for points and miles and she now has over 2 dozen credit cards and creates in-depth, deta...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

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Countries Visited: 45U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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It’s safe to say that most charities could use a boost right now. According to a 2021 survey conducted by the Charities Aid Foundation of America, over 90% of charities experienced negative financial impact due to COVID-19.¹

And while cash may be the most common and liquid type of donation, there are several possible reasons you’d want to consider donating your points or miles to charity. Perhaps you aren’t traveling anymore, you have accumulated more than you can use, or you’re just feeling generous and want to make a difference. It’s also possible you’ve been moved by a recent tragic event and feel the need to step up and help.

Regardless of the reason that inspires you to donate your rewards, just know that there are several ways to easily turn your intentions into reality.

Whether you’re considering donating your frequent flyer miles, hotel loyalty points, or even credit card rewards, we’re here today to help you find a process for facilitating the transfer of your gift to a deserving organization.

If you have rewards you’re ready to donate, you’ll find all the information you need here to bring that donation to fruition.

Why Donate Miles, Points, or Credit Card Rewards

There’s little debate that donating cash is the most liquid, and therefore the most easily used type of donation.

Additionally, cash donations can be tax-deductible, while points, miles, and other rewards currencies generally are not. Donating cash may also ensure the receiving organization receives the full, or nearly full, value of your donation.

However, while cash may be a preferred way of donating, there are several reasons you may want to consider donating your frequent flyer miles, hotel points, or other rewards currencies. Here are some examples.

  • Lack of Travel Plans — If you have no plans to use your rewards for travel in the foreseeable future, it could be time to donate some of the miles or points.
  • A Glut of Rewards — Perhaps you have more rewards than you could possibly use. While this is a good situation to be in, it may be a perfect time to part with some of those rewards for a cause.
  • Rewards Rich/Cash Poor — You’d like to donate to a favorite charity but can’t really afford to right now. Donating your rewards may be a good alternative.
  • Orphan Rewards — If you have an airline, hotel, or other rewards account with less than enough rewards to redeem for anything meaningful, donating can be a good use of those rewards.
  • Avoid Expiration — Donating rewards can count as a qualifying activity and keep the rewards left in your account from expiring.

If any of these situations apply to you, or you have an additional reason for donating your rewards, you’ll want to read further as we look at several ways to facilitate that intention.

Bottom Line: While cash may be a preferred method of donating to charity, there can be several situations when donating rewards can be a good choice for both the giver and the receiving organization. 

Airline Frequent Flyer Miles

Storm by the sea
When disaster hits, donating airline miles can help in several ways. Image Credit: George Desipris via Pexels

Donating airline miles can help a charity in many ways, including facilitating the relocation of front-line and emergency workers and the evacuation or repatriation of residents during a disaster. Miles can also help transport a child needing a life-saving operation or deliver much-needed supplies.

Here are some of the most prominent airline frequent flyer programs and how you can donate your frequent flyer miles from each one.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Miles

Donate Alaska Mileage Plan Miles
Image Credit: Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines’ LIFT plan allows you to donate your Mileage Plan miles to a dozen different charity choices, including 2 Alaska Airlines charity pools: the Alaska Airlines Disaster Relief Pool and Alaska Airlines Miles for Youth.

How To Make a Donation

  1. Log in to your Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan account.
  2. Under Mileage Plan, then My Account, click on Buy and Share Miles.
  3. Select Donate Miles.

American Airlines AAdvantage Miles

Donate AAdvantage Miles
Image Credit: American Airlines

American Airlines offers several categories of charitable giving options for your AAdvantage frequent flyer program miles.

Current donation categories include Miles for Social Good, Miles for Global Health and Well Being, Miles for Heroes, and Miles for Our Planet. These options are not specific charitable organizations but overall charitable categories. A list of the specific organizations can be found under each category.

How To Make a Donation

  1. Log in to your American Airlines AAdvantage program account.
  2. Select Redeem Miles, then Products and Donations.
  3. Click on Donate under the Donations section.
  4. Select the specific group option you prefer and then the number of miles you wish to donate.

There is a minimum donation of 1,000 miles unless your account balance is less. In that case, you can donate your entire balance.

Hot Tip: American AAdvantage elites can also choose a $250 donation to their choice of partner charities as their Loyalty Point Reward at select levels.

Delta SkyMiles

Donate Delta SkyMiles
Image Credit: Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines’ charitable program SkyWish allows you to donate your SkyMiles to dozens of organizations throughout the world. Whether you wish to help feed hungry children, provide needed medical care, help ill or wounded service members, or provide funds for disaster relief, there’s a matching charity.

How To Make a Donation

  1. Log in to your Delta SkyMiles account online.
  2. Under the SkyMiles section at the top of the page, select My SkyMiles, then Buy, Gift, or Transfer Miles.
  3. Select Donate Miles and your preferred section of the world (U.S., Asia, Latin America, or Europe/Middle East/Africa).
  4. Then select the preferred organization and the number of miles you want to donate.

There is a limit of 5 charities per transaction and donations cannot be reversed. There is a minimum of 1,000 miles per donation.

Hawaiian Airlines Miles

Donate Hawaiian Miles
Image Credit: Hawaiian Airlines

When you donate your Hawaiian Airlines Miles, you’ll be providing needed assistance to local charities of the Hawaiian Islands. Charities are diverse in categories that include Culture, Education, the Environment, and Health and Human Services. There are currently 14 Hawaiian Airlines-selected charities available.

Also, your miles go further, as each year Hawaiian Airlines matches up to 500,000 miles donated to each charity.

How To Make a Donation

  1. Log in to your Hawaiian Airlines Miles account.
  2. Under Hawaiian Miles, select Donate Miles.
  3. Select the charity and enter the number of miles you wish to donate.
  4. Select Continue to review and Donate to confirm.

JetBlue TrueBlue Points

Donate JetBlue Points
Image Credit: JetBlue

JetBlue offers a selection of over 2 dozen different charities from which to select. The process is simple and points go directly to the charity’s account.

How To Make a Donation

  1. Sign in to your JetBlue TrueBlue account via this donation link.
  2. Select the charity and insert the number of points you wish to donate.
  3. Points will be deducted from your account and be transferred directly to the charity’s TrueBlue account.

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards

Donate Southwest Points
Image Credit: Southwest Airlines

Donate your Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards via Southwest’s Points for a Purchase program. You can select from 7 different charities.

How To Make a Donation

  1. Log in to your Southwest Rapid Rewards account.
  2. Click on Rapid Rewards at the top of the page and select Donate Points.
  3. On the Points for a Purchase page, select the charity to which you’d like to donate your points.
  4. Enter the number of points you’ll be donating and hit Donate.

There is a minimum of 2,000 points for a donation and the transaction will be processed by Points.com.

Hot Tip: Watch for special promotions when a loyalty program may match your donation. These offers tend to surface around the holidays, following a natural disaster, or after other events when help is especially needed. 

United Airlines MileagePlus Miles

Donate MileagePlus Miles
Image Credit: United Airlines

United Airlines’ Miles on a Mission matches organizations that can use frequent flyer miles with those individuals willing to donate. Select from a list of over 20 partner charity organizations and donate a minimum of 1,000 miles. Miles donations are not reversible.

How To Make a Donation

  1. Sign in to your United account and select MileagePlus Program.
  2. Click on Earn and Use Miles, then select Use Miles.
  3. Scroll down the page and under Buy, Transfer, or Donate Miles, click on Donate Miles.
  4. Click to view All Charities and select your preferred charity.
  5. Click on Donate and select or enter the number of miles you wish to give.
  6. Click on Donate again to process the transaction.

Hotel Loyalty Points

In addition to donating your frequent flyer miles, it’s also possible to donate your hotel loyalty program points.

Here’s are some of the most popular hotel loyalty programs and how to donate from each one.

Choice Privileges Rewards

Donate Choice Privileges
Image Credit: Choice Hotels

Choice Privileges offers 8 charities from which to select. You can redeem as few as 1,000 points which can be worth $5 to $10, depending on the charity selected.

  1. Visit the Choice Hotels website and sign in to your Choice Privileges Rewards account.
  2. Select Use Points, then under Share Your Points, select Donate Today.
  3. Select your preferred charity from the list and click on Donate Points.
  4. Select the number of points you wish to donate and click on Continue.
  5. Review the information and finalize your donation.

Hilton Honors Points

Donate Hilton Honors Points
Image Credit: Point Worthy

The Hilton Honors program allows for point donations to charity via Point Worthy. Point Worthy is a payment network that converts loyalty points to cash and passes these funds to the charitable organization.

You’ll need to set up a Point Worthy account, but the process is simple and there are hundreds of charity choices available. You can even make a donation in the name of a friend or relative if you choose to do so.

How To Make a Donation

  1. Log in to your Hilton Honors online account.
  2. Select Points at the top of the page and click on Donate Points.
  3. Select Donate Now to access the Point Worthy website where you’ll finish the donation process.
  4. Set up an account, select your charity, and enter the number of points you wish to donate.
  5. Select Hilton Honors as your method of payment and click Add to Basket.
  6. When you’re ready to checkout, go to your basket and click Donate to submit your donation.

Point Worthy normally charges a 10% processing fee but this fee is picked up by the Hilton Honors program, allowing your entire donation to go to the chosen charity. There is a minimum donation of 3,500 Hilton Honors points and donations are not reversible. Unfortunately, 3,500 Hilton Honors points only translates to a $10 donation, which is not good value for your points, but if you have just a small amount of orphan points, donating could still be worthwhile.

You’ll want to check with your tax advisor, but Point Worthy states that your donation can be tax-deductible.

IHG One Rewards

Donate IHG Points
Image Credit: IHG

IHG One Rewards members can donate rewards points to a variety of organizations like the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Crescent Societies, No Kid Hungry, and Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG). You can donate as few as 2,500 reward points, up to a maximum of 10,000 reward points.

How To Make a Donation

  1. Visit the donation website and log in to your IHG One Rewards account.
  2. Select the number of points you wish to donate and click on the selected charity.
  3. Add the donation to your shopping bag, review, continue, and checkout.

Marriott Bonvoy Rewards

Donate Marriott Bonvoy Points
Image Credit: Marriott Bonvoy

The Marriott Bonvoy rewards program offers several options via Serve 360 for donating Marriott Bonvoy rewards points. There are 20 different charities from which to select that cover a wide range of causes.

How To Make a Donation

  1. Visit the Giving Marriott site and sign in via your Marriott Bonvoy account.
  2. Select the “direction” you’d like your donation to go, including Nurture, Sustain, Empower, or Welcome.
  3. Select your preferred individual charity from the list.
  4. Select the number of points you wish to donate, then click on Donate Points.

For example, a donation of 2,500 points could mean a $10 donation to your charity, which is not the best value for your points. However, if you have a small number of points in your account and don’t plan to use them, you can do some good by donating.

World of Hyatt

World of Hyatt does not have a formal program for donating World of Hyatt rewards points to charity. In the past, however, Hyatt has matched member donations for disaster relief and other causes.

Wyndham Rewards

Donate Wyndham Rewards
Image Credit: Wyndham

You can donate as few as 500 Wyndham Rewards points to a dozen select charities. Although there is a short description of how your donation will help your chosen charity, there is no information on the exact value the charity will receive.

How To Make a Donation

  1. Log in to your Wyndham Rewards account.
  2. Select Use Wyndham Rewards Points, then More Ways to Redeem.
  3. Select Donate Now under the Charitable Donations tab.
  4. Select the number of rewards you wish to donate and the specific charity.
  5. Add the donation to your shopping cart and confirm during checkout.

Credit Card Rewards

Credit cards can earn valuable and flexible rewards that typically receive the best value when redeemed for travel. However, it is possible to redeem credit cards for charitable donations. Here’s how to facilitate the donation of credit card rewards from some of the most popular rewards programs.

American Express Membership Rewards Points

Donate Membership Rewards
Image Credit: American Express

American Express allows cardholders to donate up to 500,000 Membership Rewards points each year and receive a value of 1 cent for each point. After that, points are worth just 0.5 cents per point. American Express uses the JustGiving website to facilitate your donation. JustGiving offers the option to select from over 450,000 charitable organizations, including fundraisers.

How To Make a Donation

  1. Log in to your American Express online card account.
  2. From the Menu in the upper left corner, select Rewards, then Use Points.
  3. From the options listed, select JustGiving, then click on Visit JustGiving.
  4. Create an account or log in to an existing account.
  5. Select a charity to which you’d like to give and the Membership Rewards you’d like to donate.
  6. Apply the points, then complete the donation.

Hot Tip: American Express launched a pilot program in September 2022, called Amex Round-Up that lets cardmembers round up purchases to the nearest $1, $5, or $10, and contribute the extra amount to a charity of their choice. 

Capital One Miles

Capital One does not have a formal process for donating rewards to charity. However, you can always make a donation using rewards accumulated with a Capital One card that earns cash-back. Additionally, you could use your Capital One card to make the donation and earn miles or cash-back for doing so.

Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

Chase Pay Yourself Back
Image Credit: Chase

If you’re a cardholder of a Chase business or personal card that earns Ultimate Rewards points, you have the ability to donate to an eligible charity with your card and Pay Yourself Back with a statement credit.

Ultimate Rewards Points when redeemed via Pay Yourself Back as a statement credit for an eligible charitable donation can be worth 1.25 to 1.5 cents each, depending on the card used for the donation. This extra value offer is currently valid through December 31, 2023, depending on the card. After that time, unless the promotion is extended, you will be able to receive 1 cent in value for each point when redeemed as a statement credit.

How To Make a Donation

  1. Use your Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning card to make a donation to an eligible charity.
  2. Log in to your Chase online card account and select the option to redeem Ultimate Rewards points.
  3. Under the Earn/Use banner, select the Pay Yourself Back option.
  4. Select from the list of eligible expenses made in the past 90 days.
  5. Select the amount of Ultimate Rewards points you want to redeem and continue.

Eligible charities currently for Pay Yourself Back include:

  • American Red Cross
  • Equal Justice Initiative
  • Feeding America
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • International Medical Corporation
  • Leadership Conference Education Fund
  • NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund
  • National Urban League
  • Thurgood Marshall College Fund
  • United Negro College Fund
  • United Way
  • World Central Kitchen

Hot Tip: Some credit cards are better for making charitable donations than others. To learn more about some of the best credit cards for donating to charity, you’ll want to check out this additional informative article. 

Citi ThankYou Points

Donate ThankYou Points
Image Credit: Citi

Citi offers the opportunity to donate your ThankYou Points to 8 different charitable organizations. You can redeem your points for 1 cent each to secure donation denominations of $25, $50, or $100. A check for the amount of your donation will be mailed to your chosen charity directly. You should receive a confirmation notice of your donation within a few weeks.

How To Make a Donation

  1. Log in to your Citi online card account.
  2. Select the Redeem option under the ThankYou Point banner next to the associated points-earning card.
  3. Select More Ways to Redeem, then Charitable Contributions.
  4. Select your desired charity from the list, then the amount of the donation you wish to make.
  5. Review your donation in your cart then click on Place Order.

Discover Cashback Bonus

Donate Discover Cashback Bonus
Image Credit: Discover

Cardmembers are encouraged to donate their Cashback Bonus rewards to any of the 10 charitable organizations that Discover partners with.

How To Make a Donation

  1. Log in to your Discover card online account.
  2. Click on Ways to Redeem, then select Charity.
  3. You’ll be able to select a charity and enter the amount you wish to donate.

Wells Fargo Rewards

You can redeem your Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards for a donation to the Red Cross by signing in to your Wells Fargo Rewards account. However, you can also redeem your rewards for cash and make your donation directly.

Additional Options for Donating Gift Cards and Rewards

Generally, you can just access your frequent flyer, hotel loyalty, or credit card rewards program to donate to charity. If you have partially used gift cards, unused gifts cards, or frequent flyer miles you’d like to donate directly, however, there are organizations that can transfer the card values or miles for you. One organization can even engage you in the process of assigning those miles to an individual.

CharityChoice

CharityChoice Donate Gift Cards
Image Credit: CharityChoice

Rewards programs frequently offer the option to redeem your rewards for gift cards. If you can obtain restaurant, grocery store, or retailer gift cards with your rewards, especially during a discounted rate sale, you can donate these gift cards to organizations that help the hungry and those in need.

CharityChoice accepts gift cards with even partial balances, so if you have gift cards you’ll never use, add them to your donation.

How To Make a Donation

  1. Visit the CharityChoice website and set up an account.
  2. Log in to your account and select the charity to which you’d like to donate from the dropdown box, then hit continue.
  3. Select the type of gift card you want to donate from the dropdown box.
  4. Enter the gift card number, PIN, and balance on the card.
  5. Verify your contact and card information, then hit finish.

CharityChoice utilizes a third party to liquidate the gift card, then funds are donated to your charity of choice. The value after liquidation varies based on the actual card merchant. For example, a Home Depot gift card may receive about 88% of its value toward a donation.

Miles4Migrants

Miles4Migrants
Image Credit: Miles4Migrants

Miles4Migrants is a 501(c)(3) organization that has been around since 2016. The company facilitates donations between givers and those needing transport assistance worldwide due to persecution, war, or disaster.

You can pledge your frequent flyer miles, points, or vouchers to help refugees, asylum seekers, their families, and others needing immediate transportation.

While Miles4Migrants accepts donations from most airlines and points programs, the company has direct partner relationships with Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Air Canada, and Alaska Airlines. If you transfer from any of those frequent flyer programs, it’s a one-and-done donation.

If you transfer from other miles/points programs, there can be additional steps that a company rep will walk you through. Miles4Migrants can match your pledge to a deserving individual, even sending you a photo and explanation of how your miles were used.

How To Make a Donation

  1. Provide your name, email address, and phone number via this form.
  2. Select the airline frequent flyer program or points program from which you want to donate.
  3. Enter the amount of your pledge and submit.

Final Thoughts

Airline and hotel loyalty programs, in addition to credit card rewards programs, have made it easy to donate to your favorite charities.

It’s important to do your research in advance, however, to make sure your selected charity will receive all, or most of the rewards you’re donating and that you’re receiving good value for the donation. Also, consider any fees the organization might incur, such as credit card processing fees or fees charged by the intermediate payment processer (FirstGiving, JustGiving, etc.).

You’ll also want to compare the value you would receive if you redeemed your rewards for their best value and compare that to what the charity would receive if you donated through the third-party payment processer. For example, if you can redeem Membership Rewards points by transferring to an airline frequent flyer program to receive 2 to 4 cents per point, it might make more sense to make a cash donation to your charity versus redeeming those same points for 1 cent each when donating points to charity.

Also, note that the information provided here was current when written, however, minimum donations, charity options, and terms and conditions can change. Please check the current information before donating your rewards as you can not reverse the process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I donate my frequent flyer miles to charity?

Yes, you can donate miles to charity. The easiest way is to log in to your frequent flyer account and click on a redeem miles option. You’ll select an option to donate miles, choose a specific charity, and indicate the amount of miles you want to donate.

Donations of frequent flyer miles are not tax deductible and the donation cannot be reversed. There may also be a set minimum amount of miles you can donate, although if your balance is below the minimum, you may be able to donate the entire balance.

Can I donate credit card points to charity?

Yes. Most credit card rewards programs offer an option to donate points or miles earned on your card to charity. You can generally access the option by logging into your online card account and looking under the Redeem section.

Is donating frequent flyer miles tax deductible?

Unfortunately, donating frequent flyer miles is not usually tax deductible.

Does donating frequent flyer miles extend the expiration?

Yes. For frequent flyer programs that require an activity to keep miles active in your account, donating miles is considered a redemption and will extend the life of the miles for the applicable period.

Is it worth it to donate points or miles to charity?

It can be worth it if you have no other use for the rewards, if you have more rewards than you can use, or you have more rewards than cash and want to make a donation. However, there can be a cost of liquidating the rewards prior to the donation being made to the charity.

This cost may result in your charity receiving far less than full value for your rewards. For this reason, it makes sense to consider if making the donation directly with cash might be a better option.

Christine Krzyszton's image

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine ran her own business developing and managing insurance and financial services. This stoked a passion for points and miles and she now has over 2 dozen credit cards and creates in-depth, detailed content for UP.

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