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A Feel-Good Way to Use Credit Card Rewards: Donate Them

Nov. 15, 2017
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Looking for a simple, hassle-free way to celebrate Giving Tuesday? Donate your credit card points and miles to a good cause — especially if they’re about to expire.

Most airline, hotel and card issuer loyalty programs let you donate miles, points and cash back. For example, you can pass neglected frequent-flier miles on to charities such as Hero Miles, a program that provides transportation to wounded, injured and ill military members and their families.

Airlines partner with different charities. You can choose from more than 2.5 million causes in JetBlue’s True Giving database. Delta Air Lines matches miles — up to a total of 10 million — to support the American Red Cross.

To donate, just log in to your loyalty program’s charity page, select the charity you’d like to support and assess the redemption value of your points or miles. For example, American Express members can donate $10 to a designated nonprofit for every 1,000 points redeemed through its Members Give program.

» MORE: NerdWallet helps you track your money this holiday season

Some programs have low redemption values, but if your points are about to expire and you don’t plan to use them, you may as well donate them before you lose them forever.

Of course, you can always donate rewards on top of giving money to charities on Giving Tuesday — or any day.

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