Frequent travelers have some unique ways to help those suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Many major airlines are actually using airline miles to help people who have been affected by the history-making storm. You could earn some free miles for doing something good for others. Donating miles or making a monetary donation are the two best ways to help victims of the hurricane.
Most organizations discourage donations of actual goods because logistical issues can make it difficult for goods to be processed and transported to those who need them. Aid organizations that are responding to Harvey can do the most when they are given monetary donations and allowed to use their own channels to get the right type of aid to people who need it. Here's a look at what some major airlines are doing to help people affected by Harvey.
MileagePlus members who donate to AmeriCares or Operation USA through the fundraising page set up by United Airlines will receive up to 1,000 bonus miles. Here's how it breaks down:
- Earn 250 bonus miles for donations between $50 and $99
- Earn 500 bonus miles for donations between $100 and $249
- Earn 1,000 bonus miles for donations of $250 or more
Members will need to enter a membership number to qualify. All of the charitable organizations selected have teams in the impacted areas right now to offer assistance and supplies. United has worked with many of them to raise over $5.7 million to help people affected by disasters just within the last 5 years.
Southwest Airlines is allowing members of its Rapid Rewards program to donate unused miles. Both the American Red Cross and Team Rubicon will be the beneficiaries of donated miles. Southwest will be converting donated miles into passes that these organizations can use to fly volunteers to areas that have been devastated by Harvey.
Delta's SkyWish program is going into action to donate miles to the Red Cross. Delta will match donations up to 10 million miles. The donations made will go toward immediate relief needs for people living in areas affected by Harvey.
JetBlue has set up a program that lets TrueBlue members help the victims of Harvey get some life-saving supplies. Points donated will be used by AmeriCares to help those who have been hit the hardest. In addition, TrueBlue will match all donations up to 250,000 points between now and Sept. 30.
Airlines aren't just supporting people living in areas that have been affected by Harvey by helping to provide essential supplies and aid. Most major airlines are letting people in affected areas cancel or reschedule their flights. For instance, JetBlue is allowing customers who have booked travel to or from Houston to reschedule without fees through Sept. 15. This only applies to travel that was booked on or before Aug. 27, though. Most other major airlines have similar policies in place right now.