How to donate your rewards to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts

If you’re feeling helpless watching Houston and other Texas coastal cities contend with Hurricane Harvey’s destruction — and can’t donate money — you can lend a hand with your credit card rewards. Plenty of issuers let you route points toward charitable donations toward organizations that are active on the ground. Here’s a round-up:

American Express

You can donate your Membership Rewards points via the Members Give site to more than 1 million charities. Charities are searchable by location. Each membership Rewards point is worth 1 cent each, up to 500,000 points donated in a calendar year. If you donate more than 500,000 points, they’ll be worth 50 cents each. American Express deducts a processing fee of 2.25 percent from the donation,

Capital One

The No Hassle Giving Site lets you donate your rewards (at their cash-back value) to more than a million charities — and you can search for local ones by ZIP code. However, keep in mind that, according to the terms and conditions of this program, donations are disbursed to charities on a quarterly basis. So your donations won’t be of immediate help. However, the recovery from Hurricane Harvey will certainly be a long one.

Citi

Citi has a banner on its homepage directing cardholders to its charitable giving site. Options are limited, but do include the American Red Cross.

Discover

Through Discover’s Charitable Partnerships, you can donate your cash-back bonus to various charities, including the ASPCA and American Red Cross, which are active in areas affected by Harvey.

Donate Airline Miles

Your airline miles can also be powerful in the hands of charities, which use them to get their staff to wherever they’re needed. You can donate United miles to the Red Cross and AmeriCares, for example, both of which are lending aid. Southwest lets you donate your miles to All Hands Volunteers and the Red Cross. Delta lets you donate to The Salvation Army and the Red Cross.

Incentives for giving

Some programs will give you a kick-back for donating.

  • United will give you bonus miles for donating by 11:59 p.m. CST on September 15. Donating $50-$99 gets you 250 MileagePlus miles, donating $100-$249 gets you 500 miles and donating $250 gets you 1,000 miles. Eligible charities include the Red Cross, Greater Houston Community Foundation, Airlink, AmeriCares and Operation USA.
  • The U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards card lets you earn 3X points on charitable donations (2X after Dec. 31, 2017).

A better option?

Don’t see an ideal way to give back above? If you have a cash-back credit card, you can redeem your accrued cash back into your bank account and then cut a donation to whichever charity you choose.

 
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