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Hurricane Harvey and Irma have pulled the country together in wanting to help those most affected by the disaster. Both American Airlines and United Airlines have really stepped up and are offering bonus miles to their members who donate to the Hurricane Harvey/Irma disaster relief efforts.
In addition, several hotel programs provide mechanisms to donate and possibly have donations matched. Some of the more popular programs are below.
Donate Points with Hotel Loyalty Programs
- IHG Rewards: Through September 30, 2017, IHG will match each point donated (up to 3,000,000 points). According to IHG, the IHG Foundation will use your donation to support relief efforts around the world and for its other areas of focus which aim to make communities around the world better places to be for all.
- Marriott Rewards: You can donate points, which will translate to a cash donation, but Marriott doesn't appear to be matching.
- Hilton Honors: Matching point donations up to $250,000 through October 31, 2017
- World of Hyatt: Matching donations to the Red Cross through September 30 up to a total of $25,000 USD. This match limit has been met.
Donate Miles with Airline Loyalty Programs
United and American have stepped up where they're providing bonus miles when you make a cash donation; bravo to them.
United’s has tiered their bonus miles to encourage you to donate the most you can. To earn the miles, you will have to donate through United’s Crowdrise page (Harvey) and United’s Crowdrise page (Irma). Depending on your donation you will earn miles as follows:
- Earn 250 miles when you donate between $50 and $99
- Earn 500 miles when you donate between $100 and $249
- Earn 1,000 miles when you donate $250 or more
Additionally, United is matching $200,000 in donations to Harvey and $100,000 to Irma assistance.
The window for donations is open through September 30, 2017. You can only earn the bonus once, so if you are going to donate make it count. Full terms
AA’s support for Hurricane Harvey is more open ended, and you can donate as much as you can afford with unlimited earning of 10 miles per dollar donated for donations over $25. The window for AA donations is through September 24, 2017. To earn the bonus miles, you must make the donation through the special AA red cross page.
While there are certainly many other options for giving, how do you make sure your dollars are achieving the best results. Big organizations tend to have lots of overheads that eat into every dollar you give, sometimes smaller is better with small volunteer organizations being able to deliver almost all their donations to those in need. There are several websites that rate and rank charities and appeals according to which will deliver the best value for your donation. These include the following:
While it is rare to associate airlines with altruism these days, it is great to see some major carriers taking the lead to incentivize people to donate and help those in their hour of need.
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