Donate your credit card rewards to benefit Ukraine
On February 24, Ukraine’s sovereignty was threatened by a Russian invasion that would ultimately lead to a mass exodus of more than 6 million civilians and more, according to the The United Nations. The humanitarian crisis unfolding in Ukraine is not to be taken lightly. Millions of Ukrainians watch their beloved country crumble to ashes as they contemplate risking their lives by staying behind or seeking refuge in a foreign land. And the violence only seems to be intensifying.
As the world searches for ways to support those affected by the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, dozens of organizations are working tirelessly in Ukraine and neighboring countries to provide assistance to Ukrainian refugees.
If you’re looking for ways to help, consider donating your credit card points or donating cash to various reputable causes that support those affected by war in Ukraine. And we encourage you to help in any way you can.
To make sure your money or credit card points land in safe hands, let’s take a look at which charities are providing aid in Ukraine and how to donate your credit card points or miles.
Here are some charities you can consider donating to:
- UNICEF: The United Nations International Children’s Fund is on the ground in eastern Ukraine to help the children most affected by the conflict in Ukraine. You can make a monetary donation here.
- International Medical Corps: International Medical Corps works directly and in partnership with local organizations in Ukraine to increase access to medical supplies and services, mental health and psychosocial support, clean water and sanitation, and protection for war-affected displaced people. You can make a monetary donation here.
- International heart to heart: Heart to Heart International helps Ukraine by shipping medical supplies and medical aid. The supplies will help restock pharmacies, hospitals and clinics in Ukraine. You can make a monetary donation here.
- Americas: Americares has emergency response teams in neighboring Poland and Romania to respond to health needs and coordinate shipments of medicine and supplies to Ukraine. Americares also works to provide mental health and psychosocial support to refugees and survivors who have experienced trauma. You can make a monetary donation here.
- HOPE project: Project HOPE is on the ground in Ukraine, shipping essential medicines and medical supplies to help Ukrainians. Additionally, Project HOPE provides training for doctors in Lviv to provide proper care for orthopedic trauma caused by ballistics. You can make a monetary donation here.
- GlobalGiving: GlobalGiving has launched its Ukraine Humanitarian Aid Fund to support humanitarian assistance in Ukraine and surrounding areas where Ukrainian refugees have fled and continue to flee. Donations help provide displaced Ukrainians with shelter, food, clean water, health and psychosocial support, access to education, economic aid and more. You can make a monetary donation here.
- Mission Water: According to the Water Mission website, they are one of the only non-profit organizations to produce drinking water in several cities in Ukraine. Water Mission is distributing hygiene kits for refugees and displaced people still in Ukraine. You can make a monetary donation here.
- World Vision: World Vision, in partnership with dozens of partners across the region, has supported more than 57,000 people affected by the crisis in Ukraine by providing hygiene kits, emergency food aid and shelter assistance temporary. You can make a monetary donation here.
How to Donate Your Credit Card Rewards
Although unconventional, donating your credit card rewards is a great way to give back. Whether you have a stock of rewards you’re willing to part with or are looking to prevent your account from being closed due to inactivity, it’s best that your earnings are put to good use.
Most major credit card issuers allow you to donate your rewards, but the process (and restrictions) may vary. You will usually have a list of partner charities to choose from, including point donation levels and dollar equivalents.
American Express offers cardholders the opportunity to donate Membership Rewards points through its Just give program. American Express converts your points into a monetary donation of your choice from thousands of US charities.
Additionally, cardholders can donate Membership Rewards points through the PayPal Donation Fund and American Express will send 0.7 cents for each Membership Reward point donated to the organization of your choice. The fund was created in partnership with PayPal to support humanitarian relief efforts in Ukraine. Until June 15, American Express will match the value of every donation.
If you are unsure of the charity you would like to support, you can search for organizations listed on the Paypal Giving Fund site. official site. Cardholders can donate Membership Rewards points to specific US-based fundraisers, crowdfunding efforts or charities including UNICEF USA, American Red Cross, International Medical Corps, the International Rescue Committee, etc.
Hilton Honors Points
The Hilton Effect Foundation is committed to supporting several organizations that are actively providing immediate relief to those affected by the war in Ukraine. World Central Kitchen and Project Hope are two such international foreign affairs organizations providing on-the-ground assistance in Ukraine by providing hot meals and emergency supplies. You can join Hilton’s mission by donating your Hilton Honors Points through PointWorthy. Similar to Amex’s JustGiving partnership, cardholders have the option to search by charity. You can also filter by condition, cause or specific keywords, so start by searching for “Ukraine”.
Miles United MileagePlus
United has pledged to match up to $100,000 and 5 million donation miles to support relief efforts in Ukraine. Cardholders can donate their MileagePlus miles to any of United’s relief partners like Airlink Flight, Americares, the American Red Cross and World Central Kitchen.
In addition to matching up to $100,000 in cash donations and up to 5 million miles for each mile donation, United will award bonus miles for each cash donation:
- Earn 250 bonus miles if you donate $50 to $99
- Earn 500 bonus miles if you donate $100 to $249
- Earn 1,000 bonus miles if you donate $250 or more
Other credit card issuers
Both City and Wells Fargo also allow cardholders to donate points, but the options are quite limited. Citi, for example, only allows one-time donations to eight causes, two of which help UNICEF and World Central Kitchen.
Keep in mind fees and security
You may be subject to interchange fees to process your rewards donation (usually a few dollars), but don’t let that deter you from donating. Some issuers waive interchange fees, and in the case of Amex, when you donate through JustGiving, there are no fees.
If you have a particular charity in mind that is not listed by your issuer, you may be able to donate your rewards through them directly or through a third-party points donation site like PointWorthy. It is important to verify the legitimacy of the charity or website before donating to avoid scams.
Other ways to donate
Donate your airline and hotel rewards
Most major hotels and airlines allow you to donate frequent flyer points and miles to charity. For example, Marriott partners with over twenty organizations. You can offer your points in exchange for a monetary donation, including World Central Kitchen and UNICEF, to name a few.
For details on donations, see your airline and hotel loyalty programs; you can also donate miles directly to an organization.
Another valid option is Miles4Migrants, a non-profit organization that uses donated frequent flier miles to book air tickets for migrants, including refugees, in financial difficulty. Given the recent surge of Ukrainians seeking refuge in foreign countries, now is the perfect time to donate your stash of unused miles – it could literally save a life.
Transfer points to family or friends
If you personally know someone who needs help (perhaps a friend who could use miles, for example, to escape a difficult situation), consider transferring your credit card rewards directly to them or even to pool your points.
Rules and restrictions for point transfers and pooling vary from issuer to issuer, so do your research before contacting a loved one.