Lending A Hand With Miles

December 2, 2021

When you think about giving back to your community, what are some of the things that come to mind? Perhaps you gather canned foods from your pantry and donate them to the local food bank. Maybe you join friends at the beach and participate in a cleanup. Or perhaps you dig through your closet for clothes to donate. There are endless ways to help those in need.

Recently, people have been helping Afghan refugees in a unique way—by donating their airline or frequent flyer miles. Why? When the United States withdrew all of its troops from Afghanistan in September, chaos ensued, because the Taliban (an extremist group who’d previously taken over Afghanistan in the late 1990s) took over the country again. Tens of thousands of Afghans fled to the United States fearful of what might happen to them if they stayed in the country.

To help organizations resettle refugees into different parts of the United States, people have been donating their airline miles to help with travel expenses. These donations are extremely helpful because the money that would’ve been spent on flying refugees to their final US destinations can now be used to support them in other areas, such as housing. A win-win? We think so!

Side Note: Unfamiliar with the term “airline miles” or “frequent flyer miles”? When people fly on specific airlines, they can choose to participate in an incentive program where every time they fly with the same airline, they collect points for the number of miles they fly. These points can be used to redeem future flights, flight upgrades (first-class seat, please!), or even items in a catalog. In some cases, you (as the holder of the points) can transfer (or donate) these points to others or even purchase tickets for them.