Flying the Friendly Skies: How To Donate Your Airline Miles

We just finished all of our summer travel. While my husband tends to fly on one particular airline, if I’m booking the tickets, I search for the best price (he tends to fly for business solo, and I’m booking travel for me and the kids). This means that I have frequent flyer miles on a number of different airlines, and I may never have enough to redeem for a ticket. Instead of letting the miles go to waste, did you know you can donate your unused credit reward points or frequent flyer miles to charity? All of the major airlines allow you to donate your unused miles to a number of charities, so you’re sure to find one that speaks to your heart. The Salvation Army, The American Red Cross, Operation Hero, The Make A Wish Foundation, and the Ronald McDonald House are among the charities accept donated miles. The process is super simple. Log into the site and your account, find your chosen organization, and enter the amount of miles donated. Easy as pie (and much easier than actually booking a flight). This is a great option if you have points or miles that are about to expire. If you’re looking to share this experience with your kids, let them pick the charity or explore how much your donated miles contribute to someone’s journey. If your church or other community organization sponsors mission trips, you can also donate your miles directly to an individual. This can be a little more complicated, since you can’t transfer the miles between airlines. Many airlines do charge a fee (either a flat fee or a per mile fee) for this service, and there tends to be a 1,000 mile minimum. Before you donate, you may want to make sure this is the best way to donate to the individual. By the time the administrative and transferred fees are assed, a donation of cash or a gift card may turn out to be more economical. We all know that airline travel can be expensive and stressful. Somehow, knowing that I can put my miles to good better use makes it a little more palatable.

Susan Moody is a free lance writer and blogger.  She highlights the best of beach living as theEmerald Coast Insider and as a co-writer of Sand Castles and Sippy Cups.