Help us help the people of Afghanistan: We’re working with Miles4Migrants to save refugees

Aug 18, 2021

The images out of Afghanistan are horrifying, with thousands of Afghans trying desperately to be among the last people evacuated from the country as America’s longest war comes to a traumatic end.

Lonely Planet and TPG, along with our parent company, Red Ventures, are teaming up with one of our favourite charities to help refugees in Afghanistan and around the world. The Points Guy is matching up to $20,000 in donations from readers.

Donate your airline miles, credit card points or travel vouchers via this landing page:

(Screenshot courtesy Miles4Migrants)
(Screenshot courtesy of Miles4Migrants)

What is Miles4Migrants?

Miles4Migrants is a nonprofit that accepts airline miles, credit card points and travel vouchers as donations from people just like you, and uses them to book airfare for people who are fleeing persecution, poverty or political or ethnic violence. Miles4Migrants has helped more than 4,800 people using over 79 million points and miles.

On Afghanistan, Miles4Migrants said, “Over the past few weeks, we have been working expeditiously with our charity partners to help families escape the Taliban takeover of the Afghan government. Sadly, the takeover has increased at an alarming rate, and many — but not all — of the flights booked just days ago have already been cancelled. Miles4Migrants remains firmly committed to assisting our partners in getting Afghan families to safety. We stand ready to fulfil these flight requests as soon as we are able to do so.”

Miles4Migrants partners with other nonprofits to identify refugees, asylum-seekers and immediate family members who have legal approval to travel but cannot afford the airfare.

You can donate from a range of airline loyalty and credit card rewards programs. Miles4Migrants tells me they need Aeroplan, United Airlines and American Airlines miles most of all. But the need is great, and they accept donations from most programs, including:

  • Alaska Airlines.
  • Amtrak Guest Rewards.
  • Southwest Airlines.
  • Flying Blue.
  • American Express Membership Rewards.
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Capital One.
  • Aeroplan.

To give miles, you can make a pledge on Miles4Migrants’ website. The minimum pledge size varies based on the minimum amount needed to book a ticket with each program. For most programs, the flight booking team at Miles4Migrants will work to match your miles pledged to an individual in need.

Once a match has been found, they will contact you with the recipient’s information and you can book the flight yourself, or Miles4Migrants can do it for you with your help. Oftentimes, you will receive a story and photo of the person or family your miles are helping fly.

If you have Alaska, Aeroplan or United miles to donate, Miles4Migrants has direct relationships with these airlines, so you’ll be able to donate directly into their pooled account. Pooled accounts provide Miles4Migrants with greater flexibility and efficiency when booking, so these miles are always greatly appreciated.

Cash donations are tax-deductible, but donations of miles, points and vouchers are not.

Donate here.

Besides frequent flyer miles, you can also donate travel vouchers and cash. Miles4Migrants currently accepts vouchers from Alaska Airlines, United, Southwest, JetBlue Airways and Allegiant Air. Cash donations also help to cover any award taxes, fees and surcharges.

Miles4Migrants wanted us to be sure to also point out that “donations are used to fund our most urgent cases, which includes (but is not entirely limited to) Afghan flights.”

Featured photo by David Sacks/Getty Images.

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