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How can I donate frequent flyer miles to charity?

Dear Tim,

I have air miles that I am not going to use, and I don’t need the magazines they want me to use them for. How can I donate my frequent flyer miles to a charity? Thanks.


Dear Joanne,

It’s always refreshing to hear from someone who is looking to give rather than to receive.

All the major airlines?and most of the smaller ones as well?have miles-for-charity programs, typically as a “redemption option” in their frequent flyer programs.

The specifics, in which charities receive the miles, contribution minimums, procedures, etc., vary from carrier to carrier. Since you didn’t specify which program(s) you have miles in, I’ve summarized several airlines’ programs to give you a general idea how they work.

American Miles For Kids In Need

You can donate your AAdvantage miles to help American Airlines provide free transportation for children in need and their families. American supports a number of child-focused charities, including A Wish With Wings, Make-A-Wish, Starlight Foundation, and others.

American contributes one mile for every three miles you donate.

For more information, call 800-882-8880 or visit and click on AAdvantage, then AAdvantage Member Guide, Using Miles, More Ways to Use Miles, and then Donate Miles to Kids In Need.

Delta SkyWish

Members of Delta’s SkyMiles program can donate a minimum of 5,000 miles to SkyWish, which will be used to support selected charities, including Make-A-Wish, CARE, United Way, and another charity which changes every quarter (currently the Arthritis Foundation).

Donations can be made by phone at 800-325-3999, or by mail, e-mail, or FAX.

See Delta’s website for more information.

Northwest AirCares

Northwest WorldPerks members can donate 5,000 miles or more, in 1,000-mile increments, to the AirCares charity of the quarter (currently KidCares), which provides air travel to children age 18 and younger who are unable to receive medical treatment in their home area.

Northwest also awards 500 miles to WorldPerks members who make cash donations of $50 or more to designated charities.

Call 800-327-2881 or visit the AirCares website for further details.

US Airways Dividend Miles Charity Program

Dividend Miles members can donate miles to the US Airways Dividend Miles Charity Program. The donated miles will be distributed equally between Make-A-Wish Foundation and Save the Children.

There’s a 5,000-mile minimum contribution, and for every five miles donated, US Airways will contribute one additional mile.

You can donate miles online by logging in to your Dividend Miles Account and following the “Donate Miles” link.

More information can be found on the US Airways website.

Here are links to some other airline charity programs:

Alaska Airlines Charity Miles

America West Miles of Hope

Continental (log in under your account and click on “Donate Your Miles”)

Midwest Express Miracle Miles

Southwest Give Your Heart Wings

Please note that you cannot take a tax deduction for miles donated to charity.

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