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I’m sure you have seen images of the devastation in Nepal as a result of the recent earthquake. As the death toll creeps toward a staggering 4,000, it is clear that area is going to need substantial support from the global community. From here Nepal can seem like a very far away and distant location, but those of us fortunate enough to travel regularly know that nowhere in the world is really as “far away” or removed as it may seem. In fact, another travel blogger named Jon who runs the website Wanderlusty happened to be in Kathmandu when the earthquake hit. If you haven’t yet read his four part first-hand account of the experience, I recommend giving it a read.
As with other similar disasters, certain airlines have started to offer mileage incentives to their customers who donate money to support relief efforts. I know that getting something in exchange for a charitable donation can elicit a wide variety of responses, but if some miles are the incentive that it takes for someone to donate then I think it is a great move. I know that I have been meaning to “do something”, but sat on my keister until I got the email from United today spurring me to action. I (hope I) would have donated at some point anyway, but this was the reminder I needed to turn “meaning to” into done.
United Airlines is working with its partners American Red Cross, Americares, Airlink and Operation USA to provide aid to those affected by the earthquake in Nepal, and they will provide up to $50,000 to match donations to these partner organizations from United customers and employees. They will also provide a one-time mileage bonus to MileagePlus members who donate, up to 5 million total miles for the initiative. You can select from any of those four charities to donate via this promotion.
Donate $50 – $99 and receive 250 bonus miles
Donate $100 – $249 and receive 500 bonus miles
Donate more than $250 and receive 1,000 bonus miles.
Up to 5 million bonus miles will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis based on contributions made through the airline’s fundraising page through 11:59 PM CDT on May 15, 2015.
United is the first airline I have seen to offer miles specifically for the Nepal Earthquake Relief efforts, but I know that American is also offering 250 miles to those who donate $50 or 500 miles to thsoe who donate $100 to the Red Cross in April. I fully expect other donation drives to spring up for Nepal in the travel community, so please feel free to share in the comments section if you learn of another similar opportunity. If you wish, you can also use a credit card that gives a bonus on charitable donations such as the U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature that awards 3x on charity.
My thoughts are with all of those impacted by this event, and while I know my donation won’t make much of a difference by itself, if everyone that is able to helps out it will make a difference.