As floodwaters begin to recede in Houston, the disastrous aftereffects of Hurricane Harvey continue to climb.
How can you help?
In this post, we outline the “Upgraded Points Harvey Relief Campaign” – our small effort to assist those in need. But we’re counting on you to help us. The more you share, the more people know. And the more people know, the more they can help.
We then list those airlines accepting donations of points/miles in order to enable relief workers to reach areas affected by Harvey’s catastrophic path. If you have miles you’re willing to donate, we encourage you to do so.
Finally, we list airlines who are offering bonus point/miles to those customers who donate monetarily via their charitable partners. If you’re wanting to donate and could use a boost to your miles bank, this is a great option.
Hurricane Harvey by the Numbers
Hurricane Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 Hurricane in Lockport, TX on the 25th of August. Harvey then continued to batter the coast including the greater Houston area for days. Per Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, over 1 trillion gallons of rain fell there.
The Washington Post states in total, Harvey has poured down over 24.5 trillion gallons of water across Texas and Louisiana. Having a hard time imagining how much water that is? We were too. Meteorologist Ryan Maue tells us if you piled all the water on top of Washington D.C., it would stand 1,410 ft high – about the height of the Empire State Building.
Harvey was a storm the likes of which Texas had never seen. As of Thursday afternoon, the Midtown Houston Patch is reporting over 3,500 water rescues by the police, fire, and coast guard – this doesn’t include the thousands of rescues performed by private citizens/civilians.
Over 32,000 people are currently being housed in shelters and those affected by evacuations (mandatory & non-mandatory combined) are numbering over 1.75 million.
The sheer number of those in need of housing, meals, clean drinking water, clothing, etc., is unimaginable.
While many are sending ‘thoughts and prayers’ which, is no doubt needed in large supply, we were left wondering…how can we actively help?
Upgraded Points Harvey Relief Campaign
As Upgraded Points was founded in Austin, we feel a special pull to assist our neighbors in Southern Texas, suffering from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. So we decided to launch a Relief Campaign.
For every share of this post, Upgraded Points will donate $2 to Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts, up to $1,000.
As we stated above, the more you share, the more people know. And the more people know, the more they can help.
This campaign will run until September 15th, 2017, 11:59 pm CST.
Donate Your Points/Miles
Donating points/miles enables relief workers and volunteers to travel to areas in need of assistance. The following airlines are currently encouraging donations of points/miles.
Alaska is encouraging Alaska Mileage Plan members to donate miles through their Alaska Charity Miles pool in order to help get relief workers to airports served by Alaska in Texas (at no charge).
These charities include: the American Red Cross, Airlink, Airline Ambassadors and Angel Flight West.
Alaska Airlines has donated 1 million miles to the American Red Cross to support Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. The company also donated $100,000 to the American Red Cross through the Ready 365 program.
Delta Air Lines
Delta is encouraging customers to donate Delta SkyMiles to the American Red Cross through their SkyWish program.
As a company, Delta is a ‘$1 Million’ member of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP).
Delta’s Managing Director of Community Engagement stated: “As a global airline, we are committed to investing in our local communities, lending a helping hand when it’s needed the most, and partnering with organizations who are involved with disaster relief year round.”
Jetblue is encouraging TrueBlue members to help out by donating points to AmeriCares through their Points Donation program.
The airline has pledged to match up to 250,000 TrueBlue points donated to AmeriCares through September 30, 2017.
Additionally, JetBlue states they have made significant donations to the American Red Cross and AmeriCares. They report they’ve worked closely with both organizations to ensure the funds go directly to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.
JetBlue has also pledged to match additional donations made internally by their crewmembers.
Southwest Airlines is encouraging Rapid Rewards members to donate Rapid Rewards points to their partner organizations: the American Red Cross, Team Rubicon, and All Hands Volunteers. Southwest has even gone so far as to reach out through e-mail, requesting donations.
As a company, Southwest will be donating of 5,000,000 points to be distributed among the three organizations, each of which is directly involved with disaster relief in areas devastated by Hurricane Harvey.
Transfer Partners – Chase, Amex, Citi & SPG
Have Chase, Amex, Citi or SPG points and still want to donate? Remember, you can transfer your points to each institution’s specific airline partner/s and then use your points to do some good!
(Links have been added below for additional details re: how to transfer your points.)
Earn Miles by Donating
Two popular US airlines are offering points/miles bonuses for customers willing to donate to relief efforts through organizations such as the American Red Cross.
American Airlines is encouraging AAdvantage members to donate to the American Red Cross. AAdvantage members will earn 10 miles for every dollar donated, starting at a minimum donation of $25. The campaign currently lasts through September 24, 2017. In order to earn the bonus, donations must be made through the link below.
American Airlines is a ‘$1 Million’ member of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) and is committed to supporting those impacted by natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey.
United Airlines is urging MileagePlus members to donate to the following United partner organizations: the American Red Cross, the Greater Houston Community Foundation, Airlink, AmeriCares, and Operation USA.
Those that donate will earn up to 1,000 bonus miles within the following structure:
- A donation of $50-$99– earns 250 bonus miles
- A donation of $100-$249 – earns 500 bonus miles
- A donation of $250 or more – earns 1,000 bonus miles
United will donate up to 3 million miles on a first come, first serve basis. MileagePlus members have until September 15th to donate.
As a company, United also matched the first $200,000 in donations. Additionally, Bloomberg reports CEO Oscar Munoz stated he will personally match up to $1 million in donations to the company’s employee-relief fund.
After Harvey made landfall, between Sunday 8/27 and Monday 8/28, United operated three widebody flights into IAH to bring critical supplies and over 100 employees to assist in recovery efforts.
United is a ‘$500,000’ member of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP). Munoz has stated the company is serious in its purpose “to ensure that these devastated communities recover fully and stronger than ever.”
Update: The Upgraded Points Hurricane Harvey Relief Campaign was closed on September 15, 2017.