Getting Miles and Points for End of Year Donations

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It’s that time of year when lots of folks like to make charitable donations, so it seems like a logical time to spell out some of the ways to earn as many miles and points as possible in the process.  I absolutely love giving and helping others, and I also love getting miles and points, so it is a match made in Heaven.  In case you want to do the same, here are some of the currently available options.

American Airlines:

National Foundation for Cancer Resarch – 10 miles per dollar plus a bonus for donations of $50 and up
Komen Foundation – 10 miles per dollar
USO – 10 miles per dollar
American Red Cross – 250 miles for $50 donation or 500 miles for $100 donation


United Airlines:
American Red Cross – 250 miles for $50 donation or 500 miles for $100 donation
Feeding America – 250 miles for $50 donation or 500 miles for $100 donation
America Cares – 250 miles for $50 donation or 500 miles for $100 donation
National Foundation for Cancer Research – 10 miles per dollar plus a bonus for donations of $50 and up


Hilton HHonors:
Support Children Affected by Hurricane Sandy – 10 HHonors points per dollar
Baby Buggy Hurricane Sandy Assistance Fund – 10 HHonors points per dollar
Hurricane Sandy Relief for Santiago, Cuba – 10 HHonors points per dollar
Relief and Recovery for Haiti Disaster Survivors – 10 HHonors points per dollar
Provide Medical Care to Haiti – 10 HHonors points per dollar
Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund – 10 HHonors points per dollar
KIDS Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund – 10 HHonors points per dollar
Hurricane Sandy Relief in Haiti – 10 HHonors points per dollar
Hurricane Sandy Reconstruction – 10 HHonors points per dollar


Delta Airlines:
National Foundation for Cancer Research – 10 miles per dollar plus a bonus for donations of $50 and up
Donate to a variety of their partners to earn up to 1,000 e-miles that can be used toward a number of different airline and hotel partners.  For example, with Save the Children I have an offer where a $25 donation of dollars or less earns 100 miles from e-Miles, more than $25 earns 250 miles, and a gift of $125 or more earns 1,000 miles from e-Miles.  Some other options include:
Save the Children
Covenant House
USO and more.


US Bank FlexPerks:
Earn triple points for charitable donations using the US Bank FlexPerks card.  I have so far had no problem utilizing this benefit by donating to a variety of charitable organizations without going through any US Bank portal.


Hyatt also informed me about their charity promotion that runs through December 31st.  They’re asking Facebook users to vote to determine which three of this year’s 26 recipient organizations will receive additional funds.  The organization with the most votes will receive an additional $10,000. Second and third place organizations will each receive an additional $5,000. To support their respected chosen nonprofits, each participating Hyatt hotel or office created a video that explains the nonprofit and organization. Those videos, stories of partnerships, opportunity to vote, and full Voting Terms are available on the Vote. Give. Thrive. application on Hyatt’s Facebook page.  So, if you want to help influence which charities get more of Hyatt’s money they head to Facebook.

Many airlines and hotels (and credit cards for that matter) allow you to donate miles and points to various charities, so that is also an option if you are in a giving mood.  I usually prefer to donate cash (unless I have random points that would otherwise expire), but if you prefer to donate your miles, check with the hotel or airline’s website of course choice and you will probably find that option.


While we are on the topic of giving, last year I decided to pick an official Mommy Points charity each year as a small way to give back.  The 2012 partner was the Ronald McDonald House in Temple, TX.  This is where my husband and I stayed while Little C was in the NICU for several days shortly after she was born.  We were way too overwhelmed and focused on our daughter’s health to care about earning or using points at a hotel, and were forever grateful to stay so close to her thanks to the Ronald McDonald House.  We were thrilled to make a donation in the name of Mommy Points this year (using the US Bank card of course).  Thanks to you all we will also be providing a catered dinner to all of the families in the house in the very near future.  We know how hard it is to have a sick child in the hospital, and how invaluable it is to have a nearby place to stay and a warm meal waiting for you when you return from the hospital.


For 2013 this site plans to support another charity that is close to our family’s hearts – animal rescue groups.  We will be supporting Husky Haven in Houston, TX as it is a group we have worked with in the past, and I know donations make a huge difference for them.  We will also be supporting the Humane Society in order to spread the love around a little bit more.  We make donations in the name of this site to other causes throughout the year, but those will be the official charity donation partners for 2013.  I know posting about supporting specific charities always brings up some controversy as there is no one cause that everyone thinks is worthy, but I think it is important to let you know since it is your support that makes it possible.


Regardless of which charity you support, pat yourself on the back for doing your part, and remember to earn miles and points when possible.  Feel free to share other ways to earn miles that I have left off and I will get it added.

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  1. Thanks for the discussion. I know you’re not a tax adviser, but do you or someone reading this know how the IRS treats these donations for tax purposes? Are they fully tax deductible, or tax deductible minus the value of the miles bonus? And if the latter, how would this be calculated?

  2. Another option for giving is e-miles. I was able to give to WWF and Doctor’s without Borders through them and earned extra US Airways Miles.

  3. I dont think IRS will care about the miles benefit since it’s so small.

    What IRS would care would be documentation (proof that you make the contribution and that the organization should be non profit or some 531(c) organization.

  4. Gifts of $250 or more (including gifts to a single charity that total $250 or more over the course of a year) require a receipt to claim the deduction.

    When the charities in question provide that receipt, they will say ‘no goods or services were provided’ in exchange for the contribution.

    And the IRS will not impute a value on miles earned in a way that would reduce the value of the deduction.

    Your instinct is correct that a contribution is usually only deductible to the extend there’s no quid pro quo, that only the amount net of value received would be deductible.

    But the IRS doesn’t value the miles here [cue some folks plotting their new scheme to start a charity that awards miles for donations instead of selling them, watch the IRS get interested].

    Just like credit card rewards earned when putting a gift to charity on the card do not reduce the value of the deduction.

    I am not a tax advisor, nor is this specific tax advice for anyone’s personal situation…

  5. DaveS, see Gary’s answer below. 😉
    Nadine, totally forgot to include that one – will get it added. Thanks!
    Gary, thanks for chiming in. 😉

  6. I gave to the NFCR and received Delta miles from the link above. After submitting, there was this notice at the bottom of the confirmation:

    Your donation is fully tax deductible less the amount of miles you received times 0.02465. The National Foundation for Cancer Research is a 501 (c)(3) public charity, IRS Tax ID 04-2531031. Please allow 2-3 weeks for the miles to be awarded.

    This is not tax advice, but just an FYI for everyone out there who may be considering. Either way, it’s a win-win for you and the charity.

      • Dan, I wonder how that valuation was arrived at. I don’t know anybody who values Delta miles that highly, and I can’t believe the charity really pays that much for them. If they did, they’d be paying Delta about a quarter of the value of the donation. Is that possible?

  7. I’m not sure where they arrive at that figure, which is especially curious since it isn’t a very round number. I agree that there is no way the charity pays that much for the miles. One thought is that Delta could “donate” the miles to the charity and that is the number Delta has arrived at for their tax purposes. That’s just a guess and may be way off base, but either way, I’m sure there’s some type of analysis behind the number but I’m guessing it’s more on Delta’s side as opposed to the actual value derived from the points by you or I.

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