Would you ever consider donating points to charity?

Mattg

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Many loyalty programs offer charity redemptions where you can donate your points. For example, Velocity lets you redeem 3,125 points for a $25 donation to the Starlight Children's Foundation.

I'm wondering if anyone has ever considered redeeming points in this way. Why/why not?

I also wonder who gets to claim the tax deduction - is it the loyalty program or the member? And if so, how would you calculate it?

I've personally donated points to charity a couple of times, but only small balances of points in obscure programs that would otherwise have expired unused.
 

Ade

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Interesting thread.

I'd think the FF programs have a valuation chart to convert points to $ for the purposes of when points are donated to charity and issue the member with an invoice showing the $ value for tax purposes?

I'm also fairly sure that if such a valuation chart exist, it will be clearly called out that this chart is only for the purposes of donation and not redemption
 

drron

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I would only do as Mattg has done and donate expiring points in programs I have no longer an interest in.
I have donated cash a couple of times and got points because of that.Through Amex usually.

However I prefer to directly help individuals through OS associations such as Kiva and Big Brother Mouse.
 

VPS

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I have done some as per the OP. If I thought they were going to be lost I would happily donate.

If something came up that I felt strongly about I may donate some others
 

flyingfan

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I would only do as Mattg has done and donate expiring points in programs I have no longer an interest in.

I have done some as per the OP. If I thought they were going to be lost I would happily donate.

Great considerations I hadn't thought of, as I was going to say never. Now I'll say this is the only way I'd donate points, otherwise I'd donate 'cash' (using Amex and earn more points for myself). If airlines tried to encourage us to donate to charity I'm sure it would be a poor deal.
 

Mattg

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If something came up that I felt strongly about I may donate some others

Interesting point.

As far as I can tell, most loyalty programs put very little effort into actually offering a wide range of charity redemption partners or promoting this option. E.g. with Velocity, the only option is to donate to Starlight Children's Foundation. Not saying it isn't a worthy cause, but surely they could add some more charities?
 

dajop

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I wonder if retirees have a different answer to average income earners?

If someone earning median income were to donate $25 (cash) to the Starlight Children's Foundation it would cost them net $16.37 (after accounting tax deduction). Someone in the top bracket, it would cost them net $13.25. So is spending 3,125 points to save yourself a $16.37 worthwhile?

If you had no other use for points, or they were going to expire, or needed a way to keep them active, sure might be worth considering.
 

MEL_Traveller

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Interesting point.

As far as I can tell, most loyalty programs put very little effort into actually offering a wide range of charity redemption partners or promoting this option. E.g. with Velocity, the only option is to donate to Starlight Children's Foundation. Not saying it isn't a worthy cause, but surely they could add some more charities?

And how about not making a profit from it? Airlines sell points for at least 1 cent each, yet only offer a fraction of that as a charity pass-through?
 

craven morehead

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Not that I've got many to spare ;) but I would possibly consider. More likely however to adopt others suggestions of Cash via Amex and earn points. Understanding that points are a pseudo currency. Would we be entiltled to a tax deduction considering we don't pay tax on the points we use to take heavily cash reduced flights?
 

dajop

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And how about not making a profit from it? Airlines sell points for at least 1 cent each, yet only offer a fraction of that as a charity pass-through?

If you look at a $50 gift card, they sell for 9000-9900 points (4500-4950 for $25), so this in theory is making them less money that gift cards, as from Velocity's perspective they are getting 3,125 pts for them giving $25 to the charity.

But ... I imagine is not costing them $25 to make that donation, I assume it is also deductible, so only costing them $17.50 ... co-incidence that that a $50 is almost 9000 points after the deduction?
 

serfty

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Aver a decade ago read on AFF that if I joined Mileage Plus (UA) I'd get 3000 miles - which I did and did.

A year or three later I donated 1000 miles to keep 'em from expiring.

A year later another 1000 went the same way.

A year later ... Oh well! (I did donate them BTW)
 
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I've done so to extend the life of miles in a couple of US airline FF programs and/or low balance orphan programs. I felt it was the best option - otherwise my charitable donations are to specific charities I support with cash donations (via AmEx if possible - might as well earn those points).
 

Buzzard

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I would only do as Mattg has done and donate expiring points in programs I have no longer an interest in.
I have donated cash a couple of times and got points because of that.Through Amex usually.

However I prefer to directly help individuals through OS associations such as Kiva and Big Brother Mouse.
Another Kiva person here.
As a retiree my points are of too much value to me.
 

Mattg

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Well I just donated 100 Aegean miles (the minimum amount) to "Together for Children" as I was worried about the rest of my balance expiring due to inactivity.

This is pretty much the only reason I can see to donate points/miles. I value my points so I would rather donate money to a charity of my choice - not my points which can only be donated to 1 or a couple of charities of the airline's choosing.
 

VPS

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And this morning from TAP
Together we make a difference, VPS!​
Donating miles makes a difference and we want to continue giving wings to those who need it most, so support the NGDOs Helpo and Oikos through your donation until 31 December. Choose the number of miles you wish to donate and help us support these organisations who fight for the human development of the most vulnerable people.​
 

Mattg

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And this morning from TAP
Together we make a difference, VPS!​
Donating miles makes a difference and we want to continue giving wings to those who need it most, so support the NGDOs Helpo and Oikos through your donation until 31 December. Choose the number of miles you wish to donate and help us support these organisations who fight for the human development of the most vulnerable people.​

"Together we can make a difference", TAP says.

What exactly is TAP's contribution here? Are they matching the donations?
 

Forg

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As an infrequent flyer … I’m not 100% sure in context of FF points. I don’t have a lot of them, and they’re potentially useful in future …

However, at work we use this praise-giving site/system where you get points when people send positives your way. Same way as FF points, you can cash the points in for stuff like gift cards & products … or for the nominated charities. I guess that unlike FF points that I feel I’ve earned and will use in future, I feel that these Kudos points are freebies I never really owned, so all points I’ve earned are cashed for the charities.

So I guess that if I were a real frequent flyer & swum in FF points like Scrooge McDuck, I could see myself giving some to charity.
 

VPS

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"Together we can make a difference", TAP says.

What exactly is TAP's contribution here? Are they matching the donations?
not at all but when I did log in I found out that my 2200 miles expired in April so I have nothing to donate but would have donated them if they had notified me they were expiring (which they didn't)
 

Buzzard

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not at all but when I did log in I found out that my 2200 miles expired in April so I have nothing to donate but would have donated them if they had notified me they were expiring (which they didn't)
Can you contact TAP and put forward a case due to Covid and ask they donate the points? Maybe even quote their "together" mantra?
 
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