By Alison Fox
January 09, 2020
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While wildfires continue to devastate Australia, United Airlines is pitching in, donating to help fight them and offering MileagePlus members a little perk if they do the same.

The airline is offering all MileagePlus members up to 1,000 miles if they donate at least $50 to the relief efforts on United’s GlobalGiving page through Feb. 5. That is in addition to the $250,000 United pledged to Ellen DeGeneres’ GoFundMe campaign on Wednesday.

Luc Bondar, the airline’s MileagePlus vice president, wrote in a letter to members that he is watching the wildfires “with a heavy heart.” Bondar is from Australia himself.

“The loss of civilian and volunteer firefighters' lives, the destruction of homes and livelihoods, and the threat to the natural beauty and unique wildlife that's beloved by locals and travelers alike is tragic. Now more than ever, Australia needs our help,” Bondar wrote. “I am privileged to be in a position to ask for your support. We can always count on the United community to jump to action at a time like this…Your support will fund immediate relief efforts, helping provide emergency supplies like food, water, and medicine, as well as long-term recovery assistance.”

Steve Granitz; SOPA Images/Getty Images

On her show on Wednesday, DeGeneres said that her goal was to raise $5 million to aid “the firefighters, the people, and the animals of Australia.”

“The entire country is being devastated by wildfires and I want to do whatever I can to help,” the comedian said while announcing the airline’s donation. “United wants to protect the environment and the lives of everyone affected by these devastating fires in Australia.”

MileagePlus members who donate $50 to $99 will receive 250 bonus award miles; those who donate $100 to $249 will receive 500 bonus award miles; and those who give $250 or more will receive 1,000 bonus award miles, according to the airline. In addition to offering mileage perks, United said it will also match up to $50,000 in donations.

But United isn't the only travel organization stepping up to help. Tour company Intrepid Travel is matching donations to the Red Cross Bushfire Emergency Appeal, and Etihad Airways is waiving flight change fees for Australian residents affected by the fires.