If you travel a lot, you may have accumulated airline frequent flyer miles that you might not be able to use. But there are plenty of great nonprofit organizations that can use those miles to further their causes, and airlines have programs that make it easier to donate. Below are a few programs run by the airlines that allow travelers to donate their miles to worthy organizations.
How to Donate Airline Miles
The initiative connects frequent travelers with 15 nonprofit organizations that target, ill or wounded service members and veterans undergoing medical treatment or reuniting with their families, volunteers building affordable housing across the globe, children with life-threatening medical conditions who seek care at the best hospitals in the nation or visiting their dream destination and volunteers assisting with disaster relief and recovery during national emergencies. Charities supported by the airline include the American Cancer Society, Hero Miles (to help wounded veterans), Habitat for Humanity and Make A Wish.
American Airlines - The AAdvantage program allows travelers to donate miles to American Airlines Kids in Need to improve the quality of life for children with needs; Miles for All Who Serve to provides assistance to organizations that work to support veterans, military members and their families; and American Airlines Miles of Hope, which provides support for organizations that help supply the basic needs of the most vulnerable population.
United Airlines - Under Mileage Plus, the Charity Miles program allows you to donate your miles to 48 different charities covering youth, humanitarian, health, community and military organizations. They include Community Kitchens of Birmingham, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, March of Dimes and ORBIS International.
Alaska Airlines - Under the airline's Mileage Plan program, the Charity Miles Program helps nine nonprofit organizations including Angel Flight West, which provides patient transportation for those needing medical treatment in another city who otherwise could not afford the cost of getting there; Hero Miles, which provides transportation to wounded, injured, and ill military members and their loved ones; and the Nature Conservancy.
Southwest Airlines - Travelers enrolled in the Rapid Rewards program can donate their miles to nine designated charities. They include Student Conservation Association; Honor Flight Network, which transports American veterans capable of traveling to Washington D.C., to see memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices; and the Dream Foundation, which helps terminally ill adults and their families by providing end-of-life dreams that offer inspiration, comfort, and closure.
JetBlue - The New York-based carrier has a new program that allows travelers to donate their True Blue miles to 17 nonprofit groups, including: KaBoom, which has collaborated with partners to build, open or improve nearly 16,000 playgrounds; FDNY Foundation, which provides funds for the New York City Fire Department Fire and Life Safety Education programs; and Carbonfund.org, which helps any individual, business or organization to reduce and offset climate impact and hasten the transition to a clean energy future.
Frontier Airlines - Denver's hometown carrier uses Points.com to allow members of its EarlyReturns program to donate miles under the Buy & Gift program.
Spirit Airlines - The Fort Lauderdale, Florida-base ultra low-cost carrier's program, Free Spirit, does not allow for the transfer of frequent-flyer miles.
Hawaiian Airlines - Those who donate HawaiianMiles frequent flyer points to any participating charity, the airline will match up to half-million miles to each participating charity.