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Put loyalty-program awards to work — for others.

John Scarpinato
August 04, 2017

If you’re swimming in a sea of accrued air miles that you’ll never redeem, giving some to charity is a great way to use them before they expire. Fortunately, the process is actually quite simple. While each loyalty program’s online portal is set up a bit differently, most have a page dedicated to contributing miles. Simply choose from a list of charities and determine the amount you wish to donate. Some programs have minimum donation requirements, so you’ll need to be ready to at least part with that amount.

It’s important to note that the IRS views donated miles as coming from the airline, so they are not tax-deductible. Still, many organizations count on these gifts to carry out their missions. Here are four non-profits that are worthy recipients of extra airline miles. 

Make-A-Wish Foundation

Recently, the Make-A-Wish Foundation teamed up with The Points Guy to raise awareness for its month-long campaign to raise miles donations. More than 77 percent of wishes granted by the organization require some sort of travel, and it depends on partnerships with airlines and donated miles to make each child’s dream come true.

Hero Miles

Operated by the Fisher House Foundation in coordination with the Defense Department, Hero Miles assists with travel for injured and sick military personnel.

Rainbow Railroad

This group is dedicated to protecting LGBTQ people from persecution around the world and uses miles donated through Aeroplan to transport at-risk individuals to safety.

The American Red Cross

Donated miles help get volunteers and staff to critical areas during emergencies.

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