Hurricane Isaac Flickr-Captain Kimo-ccAs expected, Hurricane Isaac is now wreaking havoc along the Gulf Coast — and New Orleans in particular — with storm surges flooding coastal communities under ten feet of water and displacing thousands of people. For some inland neighborhoods, the flooding is already worse than experienced during Katrina, which struck exactly seven years ago, and rain is expected to continue for many hours.

Unless you live in the Bayou, you’re probably just watching video of the hurricane damage on TV and feeling badly for the people who live there.

Of course, there are the usual ways to pitch in. You could text $10 to aid relief efforts (Text REDCROSS to 90999), you can donate clothes and shoes or even give blood. But there is another option most people haven’t considered.

You can donate airline miles.

That’s right. The Red Cross can receive frequent flyer miles from Delta, United, and US Airways.

Why give away your precious miles? 

Because the Red Cross often needs planes to deliver supplies or carry people and pets from disaster zones.

How to donate:

United and US Air ask for a minimum donation of 500 and 1,000 miles respectively. Delta lets you choose any amount you want. Just make sure you list ‘Red Cross’ as the recipient whenever prompted.


To donate miles by mail, e-mail or fax, please prepare your request in writing making sure to include the following information:

– Your SkyMiles account number

– The number of miles you want to donate

– The name of the organization you want to receive your donation

By e-mail: [email protected]

United Airlines

Mileage Plus members can make donations to the American Red Cross through United Airline’s Mileage Plus charity program. The minimum mileage requirement for a donation is 1,000 miles. All donations should be made by visiting the Mileage Plus Service Center or by calling 1-800-421-4655.

US Airways

Members may donate miles in 1,000-mile increments to the Miles of Hope program by visiting the airline’s website.

Learn more about your donations at the Red Cross website

Danny Rubin, a media consultant based in Washington, DC, writes News To Live By, a blog that uses the day’s headlines to explore how we can improve personally and professionally. From careers and relationships to personal finance and life hacks, he applies the lessons from the news to our own lives. He tweets at @NewsToLiveBy.

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