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 1,000 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 1.5 million registered US charities 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 does not offer an option to directly turn points into donations. However, there’s a workaround. 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.
Alternatively, cardholders can make a donation through their Chase Sapphire card and then redeem the amount as cash back at a rate of 1%. (Note we do not recommend this workaround for American Express cards or Citi cards as their cash back rates are lower than 1%.)
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 that provides corrective surgery for children with cleft lips and palates in 87 countries. Simply log in to the Thank You rewards portal to donate, starting at 2,500 points (valued at $25).
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 Charity Choice donation gift cards, starting at 2,500 points (valued at $25). These are a great gift to give as the recipient of the card allocates funds to up to three charities from a choice of the program’s 1,000+ 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).
Alternatively, cardholders can make a donation through their Luxury credit card and then redeem the amount as cash back. This actually is a better value as points with the Gold Card are redeemed for 2% cash back, the Black Card 1.5 % cash back, and the Titanium Card 1% cash back.
U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card
Through the card’s rewards portal, card holders can donate to Team Rubicon (a charity that supports veterans responding to disasters), American Cancer Society, or Alzheimer’s Association. Redemptions begin at 2,500 points (valued at $25). Alternatively, cardholders can make a donation through their U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card and then redeem the amount as cash back at a rate of 1%.