Donating air miles to charity

28 Sep 2015 by BusinessTraveller

Looking for a worthwhile way to spend your unused air miles, or just want to make a difference by donating to charity? Business Traveller takes a look at some of the options

1. C.A.R.E. Society

Focusing on the health and happiness of the elderly, C.A.R.E. Society is one of Asia Miles’ supported charities. Donated Asia Miles are used to reunite family members in difficult times resulting from serious illness or personal tragedies.

To donate miles earned on Cathay Pacific or DragonAir flights, click here.

2. Free the Children

Virgin Atlantic has a partnership with Free the Children in support of its goals to promote long-term sustainable change and empower children in poverty. The organisation aims to teach young people that they are not powerless and that together they can create change in the world. Donations are put towards sustainability projects in their villages, empowerment programmes and leadership training.

For more information click here.

3. Help Alliance

In 1999, Lufthansa employees established the Help Alliance with the aim of promoting aid initiatives. Now it supports over 40 initiatives by Lufthansa Group employees every year. The main focus is on children, and the donation page says that “5,000 miles will provide 50 children in Africa with a substantial meal. 10,000 miles will feed ten children in Asia for one month and 20,000 miles will enable two children in South America to enjoy a nutritional diet for about a month”.

More information can be found here.

4. Make-A-Wish Foundation International

Children are diagnosed with life-threatening medical issues everyday. Make-A-Wish, founded in 1980, is a charity that seeks to grant children with one wish to promote strength, hope and joy in their battle against illness. Both United's Mileage Plus and Delta’s Sky Miles programmes support the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

5. Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders)

FlyingBlue, Air France and KLM’s frequent flyer programmes support Medecins Sans Frontieres as one of many charities members can donate to. Donations to this organisation are used to move medical teams to areas where emergency aid is most needed. The goal is to deliver emergency medical aid to people whose lives and health are in danger whether it is due to epidemics, conflicts or disasters, or no health care coverage.

You can donate miles here.

6. Miles of Hope

American Airlines has created five of its own charities in which AAdvantage members can choose to donate miles, or donate cash to receive miles, including the Miles of Hope outreach. The programme supports worldwide organisations that work to supply basic needs for vulnerable populations. Miles are put towards food, clothing, shelter, health needs, education and employment as well as help for children and all others who face unexpected hardships.

For more information click here.

7. Sightsavers

Emirates Skywards Miles programme supports Sightsavers, a charity that works to eliminate avoidable blindness in developing areas. Further goals are to promote equality for all disabled individuals. Donated Skywards Miles not only help many in poverty receive crucial treatments but also link international hospitals with those in desperate need.

More information can be found here.

8. Swiss Red Cross Help for Syrian Refugees

Etihad’s frequent flyer programme, Etihad Guest, sponsors a variety of humanitarian and relief initiatives. One of those is the Swiss Red Cross initiative to help Syrian Refugees in Jordan and Turkey. Donated miles are being used to supply refugees with living necessities including blankets, sanitary products, and mattresses.

Any number of miles can be donated here.

9. Typhoon Etau 2015 Rain Relief

Japan Airlines has developed a programme where members of its mileage bank (JMB) can donate to a variety of current issues. An initiative was recently added after the torrential rain caused by Typhoon Etau caused major destruction in many parts of Northern Japan. Donations through the charity miles outreach are only accepted through certain time frames so the most current issues can be featured. To donate to Japan’s most recent natural disaster click here.


UNICEF has ben working to improve the lives of children for almost 70 years. Active in 190 countries, UNICEF’s goal to improve the rights of children has been sought through providing shelter, protection from disasters, nutrition and even family support. Delta’s Sky Miles, Air France and KLM’s FlyingBlue, and Cathay Pacific and Dragonair’s AsiaMiles all support UNICEF among other charities.

Business Traveller
has also compiled a list of ten airlines which offer the opportunity to donate air miles - for more information click here.

Brooke Bumgarner

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