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How your miles can help with hurricane relief

SmarterTravel

Through their mileage programs, airlines and some hotel chains are permitting the donation of miles or cash or both to organizations involved in the relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina.

Miles can be used to provide travel support for both team members of the relief organizations and the victims of Katrina. From a practical standpoint, cash trumps miles, since aid agencies can use money to purchase any goods or services needed to assist relief efforts. But any donation is a good donation. (As a general rule, cash deductions to recognized charities are tax-deductible while mileage donations are not.)

Listed below are airlines and hotels which have established charitable initiatives specifically to benefit agencies helping victims of Hurricane Katrina. In addition to these special efforts, members of the programs of America West, Hawaiian, Midwest, and Northwest may donate miles to the American Red Cross through the established charitable giving feature of those programs.

American Airlines AAdvantage

AAdvantage members who make a cash donation of $50 or more to the American Red Cross Hurricane Relief Effort will receive a one-time 500-mile bonus through September 30.

To receive the bonus miles, members must fax or mail a copy of their donation receipt to AAdvantage Customer Service at:

Hurricane Relief
American Airlines
AAdvantage Department
P.O. Box 619688
DFW Airport, TX 75261-9688
Fax: 817-963-7882

Or, through December 31, AAdvantage members can donate a minimum of 1,000 miles to United Way by filling out a form on American’s website and faxing it back to American. The miles will be earmarked specifically to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina with their travel needs. American has donated one million miles to this fund. Those in need of travel assistance can call 888-675-1405 to see if they’re eligible for the program.

For more information, visit American’s website.

America West FlightFund

Through October 31, FlightFund members will earn 500 bonus miles for every $50 donated to the Red Cross.
To receive mileage under the Hurricane relief initiative, FlightFund members must make their donation online, then mail or fax the donation receipt, FlightFund account number, name, address, phone number, and e-mail address to the FlightFund Service Center:

America West Airlines
FFD Hurricane Relief Offer
Attention FFSC
4000 E. Sky Harbor Blvd.
Phoenix, AZ 85034
Fax: 480-693-8024

For more information, visit America West’s website.

Continental OnePass

Continental has deposited one million OnePass miles into both its American Red Cross and AmeriCares donation accounts to support the relief effort in the areas impacted by Hurricane Katrina.

OnePass members may donate miles to these two charities, as well as others, on Continental’s website.

For more information, visit Continental’s website.

Delta SkyMiles

SkyMiles members can donate miles to the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army via e-mail links on Delta’s website.

For more information, visit Delta’s website.

Frontier EarlyReturns

Frontier has donated 500,000 miles to the Red Cross and is permitting EarlyReturns members to donate their miles as well. Frontier frequent flyers can make donations by sending an e-mail to RedCross_ER@flyfrontier.com, indicating their name, frequent flyer number, and the number of miles to be donated.

For more information, visit Frontier’s website.

Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles

Miles can be donated to the Red Cross through the program’s established charitable giving option.

For more information, visit Hawaiian’s website.

Midwest Airlines Midwest Miles

Miles can be donated to the Red Cross through the program’s established charitable giving option.

For more information, visit Midwest’s website.

Northwest WorldPerks

Miles can be donated to the Red Cross through the program’s established charitable giving option.

For more information, visit Northwest’s website.

Southwest Rapid Rewards

Through October 15, Rapid Rewards members may donate awards to a “flight bank” established to provide travel assistance to hurricane victims and relief organizations. To do so, log in to your account through MySouthwest and follow the instructions.

For more information, visit Southwest’s website.

United Airlines Mileage Plus

United is offering Mileage Plus members 500 bonus miles for donations of $50 or more made to American Red Cross, AmeriCares, or Operation USA between August 30 and October 31.

To receive the miles, fax a copy of the donation receipt and your Mileage Plus number to United toll-free at 866-583-5943 before October 31.

A maximum of one million miles will be awarded to the first 2,000 respondents for this program and will be awarded on a first-come-first-served basis.

For more information, visit United’s website.

Best Western Gold Crown Club International

For every 50 Gold Crown Club points donated, Best Western will donate $2 to the American Red Cross.

For more information, visit Best Western’s website.

Hilton HHonors

HHonors members may donate points to the American Red Cross in increments of 10,000 points, which convert to a $25 donation.

To make a donation, members can either send an e-mail to americanredcrossHH@hilton.com (including the number of points, donor’s name, address, and HHonors account number), or call the nearest Hilton HHonors Customer Service Center and request Reward Code RDCRSU.

For more information, visit Hilton’s website.

InterContinental Hotels Group Priority Club Rewards

Points donated to the American Red Cross will be converted into cash by InterContinental Hotels Group and pledged to the Red Cross Hurricane Relief Fund. IHG will match all contributions up to a maximum of $125,000.

For more information, visit InterContinental’s website.

Starwood Preferred Guest

Through October 31, Starwood is offering SPG members 500 bonus StarPoints for donations of $50 or more to the Red Cross.

To receive the bonus, the member must fax a receipt from the American Red Cross showing a minimum donation of $50 with the member’s name and Starwood Preferred Guest number printed on the receipt. Fax the receipt to 519-633-5865 in the US or Canada.

For more information, visit Starwood’s website.

Choice Hotels Choice Privileges

Points donated to the American Red Cross will be converted to cash donations as follows:

  • 1,000 points = $5
  • 2,000 points = $10
  • 3,000 points = $15
  • 4,000 points = $20
  • 5,000 points = $25

Donations may be made online or by calling the Choice service center at 888-770-6800.

For more information, visit Choice Hotels’ website.

This information was reprinted from Tim Winship’s FrequentFlier.com website. It is used here with Tim Winship’s permission.

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