How to donate airline points to help with Harvey relief efforts

Jenny Hoff

The tens of thousands of victims of Hurricane Harvey need clothes, shoes, diapers, food, medicine, blankets – all of the everyday supplies we take for granted. But, there is something else they could use that you may not have thought of – your airline miles.

As volunteers and support professionals pour in from around the country to assist in both rescue efforts and cleanup in Texas and Louisiana, airline points can reduce their cost and allow more money to go to the direct needs of victims.

The airlines are making it easy to help by donating your rewards points or even making it rewarding to donate.

If you are a Southwest Airlines points holder, you may have received the same email I did, asking you to donate a portion of your points to one of several charity services that could use them as they make preparations to save and restore lives.

You can choose to donate your Rapid Rewards points to numerous Southwest-affiliated organizations, but the ones directly involved with Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts are the American Red Cross, Team Rubicon and All Hands Volunteers. Southwest itself is donating 5 million points to these three organizations and is asking you to pitch in if you can.

If you have other airlines rewards cards or airline miles, you can help, too.

Alaska Airlines: To support Hurricane Harvey disaster relief efforts, Alaska Airlines will match the first 1 million miles donated to the Alaska Airlines Charity Miles Pool. Alaska Airlines is partnering with four organizations – the American Red Cross, Airlink, Airline Ambassadors and Angel Flight West – to get relief workers to airports in Texas at no charge.

American Airlines: AAdvantage members can earn 10 miles for every dollar donated to the American Red Cross through Sept. 24, 2017. The minimum donation is $25. You can ensure your money goes directly to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts by selecting “Hurricane Harvey” on the donation page.

Delta Air Lines: Delta sent a rescue flight to Houston to bring supplies and relief workers, and it has established a relief fund to help with clothing, diapers, formula, tools and more, for Houston. Delta flyers can charge donations to the American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey relief efforts and donate miles through Delta’s SkyWish program.

JetBlue: TrueBlue members can help those hardest hit by Harvey by donating points to Americares through JetBlue’s Points Donation program. JetBlue will match up to 250,000 TrueBlue points donated to Americares through Sept 30, 2017.

United: United MileagePlus members who donate a minimum of $50 to any one of the airline’s Hurricane Harvey relief partners will receive up to 1,000 bonus miles. United also will match the first $200,000 raised.

So, whether you’re flush with points you don’t necessarily need or you want to build up your rewards reservoir for a future trip, consider a donation to those affected by Harvey, who could use a lift as they try to rebuild their lives.

See related: After Hurricane Harvey: How cardholders can help, How to donate unused rewards miles, points

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