Donate Your Frequent Flier Miles To Charity

Why bother with frequent flier miles when you can donate them to charity? The donations are tax-deductible, making them an attractive alternative to the Sisyphean challenge of ferreting out an eligible seat.

Many non-profit organizations have frequent flier mileage donation packages, and several major air carriers have developed charitable programs using earned miles. Some are exclusive partnerships geared to one or two specific charities, while others have multiple organizations with quarterly or monthly rotations, allowing all the participating charities equal time to receive miles.

Peter Greenberg lists several charities that accept miles as donations, from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, to Save The Dogs, an Italian non-profit committed to rescuing stray dogs in Romania. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER

Donating Frequent Flier Miles and Making Them Count [Peter Greenberg]
(Photo: Daquella manera)

Update: Miles are deductable only in very limited circumstances.


The donation of miles is generally not tax-deductible. In essence, they are not “property” in the eyes of the IRS, and thus have no monetary value.

The reason for this is simple, you generally have earned miles as a non-taxable rebate from other purchases and have not paid exclusively for the miles in which to establish a donation.

There may be one exception. You may be able to purchase miles directly from the programs then donate them to charity — thus qualifying for the tax deduction. But that is a BIG ‘maybe.’ We highly recommend consulting with a qualified tax attorney or other financial professional before making any decisions regarding the deduction of donated miles, points or awards.

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