When the Finance101 article “Why donating your travel miles is a good idea” was written, during the holiday season last year, some of us would have no idea that we would, in a sense, be grounded for months in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic. While we mourn our canceled trips and travel opportunities, we still may be able to do some good with the miles we have already accumulated. Instead of saving them all up for the trips you plan to take as travel becomes more feasible, why not donate them now to charitable causes that could really use the assistance during these difficult times?
The article explains:
“When you donate your travel miles to charities, they’re going to a place where they’ll do some good. Some charities, for example, use these miles to pay for travel for clients that can’t afford the cost of airfare on their own. Groups like this include veterans’ groups or organizations that provide services to sick people and their families (think Make-a-Wish or St. Jude) or organization that provides volunteers to help in disaster areas around the globe.”
While the process may be a little different for each airline, airlines are generally receptive to the people donating their miles so they try not to make it too difficult. This article provides more details and of course you can contact an airline directly to see if their donation program is still in operation and who benefits from it.
As good as it feels to donate, there are some benefits for you too since you can document proof of the cash value of the donation and use that as a charitable contribution when you do your taxes the following year. Consult with a fee-only financial planner to be sure that you are getting the documentation that you need for the tax deduction.