How to donate unused frequent flyer miles to charity

22 Sep 2015 by BusinessTraveller

Run out of people who will listen to you moan about having no chance to redeem your hard-worn miles? Find an alternative – give them away, and encourage others to do the same.

Below are ten loyalty programmes that give members the opportunity to donate miles to charity. We will keep updating this but if you know of more, let us know.

In each case, simply click on the link for more information.

United Airlines Fantasy Flight

1. United Airlines

When donating miles earned through the Mileage Plus programme, travellers have the option of donating to one (the featured charity is AirLink) or a variety of up to 49 charities. A minimum of 500 miles is required per donation.



2. Delta Air Lines

Through Delta Air Lines’ Sky Miles, travellers can donate to charities by region – US, Asia, Latin America & Caribbean and Europe, Middle East & Africa. Over 30 charities are sponsored (in Europe it is Unicef, Habitat for Humanity and Make a Wish International), and up to five charities can be processed in one transaction.



MSN 5678 American Airlines FF Start

3. American Airlines and US Airways

Both airlines use the AAdvantage program, which offers two options – either donate miles to a cause or donate cash to a cause and receive miles. The airline’s AA Miles for kids in need distributes money to various children’s charities including the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (US), the Something MAAgic FoundationGive Kids the World Village, Snowball Express, Unicef and Make a Wish.



4. Lufthansa and Swiss

Miles & More, the frequent flyer programme for both airlines, has partnered with two aid organisations – Help Alliance and SOS Children’s Villages – that members can donate their miles to.



Etihad A380

5. Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways’ reward programme Etihad Guest sponsors 9 charity organisations including Emirates Red Crescent, Children’s Health Fund and Medicins San Frontiers, that any number of miles can be donated towards.



6. Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club has partnered with one charity, Free The Children. In an effort to free children in developing countries from poverty and exploitation, flyers can donate a minimum of 1,000 miles to fly volunteers to help efforts.



7. Emirates

Options include The Emirates Airline Foundation, Sightsavers, Dubai Cares and Care International. You must first log into your Skywards Miles account to access Emirates’ options for donating to charities worldwide.



Japan Airlines

8. Japan Airlines

JAL supports the Next Athlete Miles project in which JAL Mileage Bank members can make donations towards a number of the carrier’s charity partners.



9. Cathay Pacific and Dragonair

Flyers who earn Asia Miles when flying with Cathay Pacific or Dragonair can now donate to one of five charities. Each donation must be at least 10,000 miles, but can move upwards in increments of 5,000. UNICEF and the International Red Cross Movement are some of the charities that are featured. Asia Miles can also be contributed to FLY greener, a programme that allows you to reduce your carbon footprint.



10. Air France and KLM

Flying Blue, Air France and KLM’s frequent flyer programme, has selected 14 charities to which its members may donate miles. Members can choose between a variety of charitable organisations – donated miles could help doctors provide emergency aid to people whose lives are in danger or help to close the divide between those who have access to ICT and those who don’t.



11. Garuda Indonesia

You can redeem your miles with Garuda Indonesia by donating to a charitable cause. The airline partners with Indonesia Mengajar and #BalasBudiGuru.


12. Singapore Airlines

‘KrisFlyer’, Singapore Airlines’ frequent flyer programme, has partnered with Make-a-Wish Singapore that members can donate their miles to.


13. Alaska Airlines

The Alaska Airlines charity miles program offers members the chance to support 10 selected charities through donating miles. The latest charity partner is United Negro College Fund which helps under-represented students to become highly-qualified graduates.


14. Austrian Airlines

Austrian Airlines’ frequent flyer programme is LifeMiles, which has partnered with Banco de Millas charity to support children in Latin America.


15. Finnair

Travellers can join Finnair Plus, which has partnered with 7 charities including UN Women and Cancer Foundation, to donate their miles to these organisations.


So, don’t let your unused miles go to waste, donate them to one or a variety of the charities sponsored by the programmes above.

Brooke Bumgarner and Phoebe Jayes

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