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Americans donate billions of dollars to charity every year. But not all those contributions come in the form of cash payments. While you can always donate directly to charity, you may be able to redeem your credit card rewards as charitable donations if you so choose.
Read on to learn how you can convert your credit card rewards into contributions for charities.
How to Donate Credit Card Rewards to Charity
Various credit card issuers make it simple to donate rewards to charity. Here's a rundown.
American Express lets cardholders donate to registered U.S. nonprofit organizations through its partnership with JustGiving.
To participate, you must have a valid American Express consumer card, American Express OPEN business card or American Express corporate card, and must be authorized to use points. The card must be enrolled in Amex's membership rewards program. Only one-time donations are eligible.
After you create an account at JustGiving and enter your Amex card information, you'll be shown the available number of Amex points and the associated dollar value for donating through JustGiving. You'll then enter the dollar amount to receive in the form of a statement credit and click "Apply to my donation." JustGiving deducts processing and transaction fees from the donation.
Through the Pay Yourself Back feature, holders of Chase Freedom Flex℠, Chase Freedom Unlimited®, Chase Ink Business Preferred® and Chase Ink Plus® cards can redeem Ultimate Rewards points as a statement credit to cover charitable donations.
Eligible charities are the American Red Cross, Equal Justice Initiative, Feeding America, Habitat for Humanity, International Medical Corps, Leadership Conference Education Fund, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, National Urban League, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, United Negro College Fund, United Way and World Central Kitchen.
Citi's ThankYou Rewards program enables cardholders to convert points into contributions to seven charities: American Red Cross Disaster Relief, American Red Cross International Services, No Kid Hungry, Smile Train, UNICEF Kid Power, UNICEF USA and World Central Kitchen. Contributions of 2,500 points or more are allowed.
Donations may be made only in amounts of $25, $50 or $100. Once you redeem ThankYou Points for a designated charity, Citi mails a check for that amount to the charity.
Discover cardholders can donate their Cashback Bonus rewards to any of 10 charities: American Cancer Society, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), American Red Cross, Carbonfund.org, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, Junior Achievement, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Operation Homefront and World Wildlife Fund.
Co-branded Airline and Hotel Cards
Credit cards affiliated with airlines and hotels require slightly different redemptions for charity—you must go through the brand's loyalty program to turn airline miles or hotel points into charitable donations.
Here are links to an array of airline and hotel loyalty programs so you can learn more about how they let members donate miles or points to charity.
- Alaska Air: Miles can be donated to Alaska Airlines' disaster relief and youth initiatives, Angel Flight West, Dream Foundation, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Foundation, Fisher House Foundation, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Medical Teams International, National Forest Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Seattle Children's Hospital and United Negro College Fund.
- American Airlines: American Airlines miles can be donated to charities in five categories: social good, global health and well-being, heroes (organizations benefiting veterans, military members and their families) and planet (organizations that protect natural resources and combat climate change).
- Delta: Miles accumulated by Delta customers can be donated to 15 charities, including the American Red Cross, Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, Habitat for Humanity, Fisher House Foundation, Junior Achievement, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Salvation Army.
- Hawaiian Airlines: Charities able to accept donations of Hawaiian Airlines miles fall into four categories: culture, education, environment, and health and human services.
- JetBlue: Twenty-two charities benefit from donation of TrueBlue points, including American Red Cross, Americares, Autism Speaks, Carbonfund.org, DoSomething.org and World Central Kitchen.
- Southwest: Seven charities participate in Southwest's Points for a Purpose program: Hispanic Heritage Foundation, Honor Flight Network, Polaris, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Student Conservation Association, Team Rubicon and United Negro College Fund.
- United Airlines: United's charity partners include Americares, Clean the World, Dream Foundation and Guide Dogs of America.
- Choice Privileges: Choice Privilege points can be converted to donations for the American Red Cross, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Executive Leadership Council, Franchising Gives Back, Fisher House Foundation, Operation Homefront, Polaris and the Stay Home, Send Beds initiative.
- Hilton HHonors: The Hilton HHonors program supports 30 charities, including the American Indian College Fund, Arthritis Foundation, DonorsChoose.org, National Coalition for the Homeless, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Special Olympics and World Vision.
- IHG Rewards Club: Charities that can receive conversions of IHG rewards points include the American Red Cross, Goodwill and National Center for Civil and Human Rights.
- Marriott Bonvoy: Marriott points can be donated to 31 charities, such as the Arbor Day Foundation, International Rescue Committee, NAACP and National Urban League.
- Wyndham Rewards: The 12 charities that can benefit from donations of Wyndham rewards include Armed Services YMCA, Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation, Save the Children and Starlight Children's Foundation.
The Bottom Line
If you're eager to obtain a credit card whose benefits include conversion of rewards to charitable contributions, be sure to check your free Experian credit report and credit score first so you can get your finances in tip-top shape and be better positioned to qualify for the best terms.