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Give to a Worthy Cause This Holiday Season Using Credit Card Points

Consider donating your points and miles to support charities and non-profit organizations

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Consider donating your points and miles to support charities and non-profit organizations
Consider donating your points and miles to support charities and non-profit organizations
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As much as the holidays entail a tradition of material gift-giving, there’s also an important element of giving back associated with the festive season. And thanks to collaborations with select charities, credit card holders can actually donate points and miles at a rate of $10 per 1000 points/miles (and sometimes higher!) at the click of a button through their awards programs.

Though donating points doesn’t qualify for tax deductions, partnerships allow cardholders to make a difference during the holidays without even spending a dime.  Here’s how you can use points from your elite credit card to make charitable donations.

American Express Platinum and Gold Cards

Through a partnership with JustGiving™, American Express card holders can redeem Membership Rewards® points for donations. Cardmembers can choose from thousands of charities and non-profit organizations through the JustGiving search engine and even donate a combination of points and cash. To do so, create a new account at JustGiving through this Amex portal; enter your American Express card information; and then view your available point balance and the associated dollar value for use on JustGiving.

Chase Sapphire Preferred®and Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Unfortunately, Chase no longer offers an option to directly turn points into donations. However, there’s a work-around. Card holders can transfer Ultimate Rewards®points to various airlines and hotel programs and then donate to charities through these secondary programs. For example, consider transferring Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest Airlines miles which can then be donated to more than a half-dozen organizations including Make-A-Wish® and Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Citi Prestige® Card

Citi card holders can use ThankYou®points for donations to American Red Cross Disaster Relief, American Red Cross International Services, or Smile Train, a charity which provides corrective surgery for children with cleft lips and palates in 87 countries. Simply log in to the Thank You rewards portal to donate.

Luxury Cards: Mastercard® Black Card™, Mastercard® Gold Card™, Mastercard® Titanium Card™

Through the cards’ rewards portal, cardholders of all three Luxury cards can use points to purchase CharityChoice donation gift cards. These are a great gift to give as the recipient of the card allocates funds to three charities from a choice of the program’s 1000+ organizations. This includes over 250 major charities and many local causes, covering organizations that focus on: environment, hunger and poverty, disaster relief, health and disease, children, military charities, disabilities, the elderly and more. Charities include: American Cancer Society, Children’s Miracle Network, SPCA (American), Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and WWF (World Wildlife Fund).

U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite®Card

Through the card’s rewards portal, card holders can donate to The Mission Continues, a non-profit organization that “empowers veterans who are adjusting to life at home to find purpose through community impact.” The redemption rate is even greater than the industry standard; 7,500 points equates to a $105 donation. In addition, card holders can “Give Children Christmas Gifts” to homeless children in Hawaii through Help the Homeless Keiki and “Give Christmas Meals” through the Westside Food Bank of Los Angeles at the click of a button. Ten gifts or fifty meals can be donated for just 2,500 points. Finally, similar to the Luxury Cards, it’s also possible to use points to purchase CharityChoice donation gift cards and then allocate funds to three charities for your choice for the program’s 1000+ organizations.

Please consider donating your points and miles. And Happy Holidays!

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Award-winning travel writer and economist Paul Rubio is a credit card enthusiast, whose sophisticated use of points and rewards has helped him travel to 125 countries for free. Paul is a Harvard graduate with a master’s degree in public administration and a master’s degree in economics. He also holds a bachelor’s degree from Boston University with a double major in economics and environmental policy and a minor in conservation biology. He attended both undergraduate and graduate schools on full scholarships. Paul worked in the field of wildlife conservation before embracing his writing talents full-time in 2008. Since then, he has won more than two dozen national awards for his exemplary work in travel journalism. The prolific writer contributes to a number of top-tier international, national, and regional publications including Condé Nast Traveler, Fodors.com, Palm Beach Illustrated, Private Clubs, and Robb Report.