Updated on 09.19.17

Airlines Offer Miles to Encourage Hurricane Harvey Donations

Considering a donation? These airlines will reward you with free travel.

Last weekend, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas as a category four storm, devastating parts of Houston and the surrounding areas. Early estimates place the cost of cleanup at the highest in U.S. history, close to the combined costs of Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina. Sadly, close to 80% of affected homeowners don’t have flood insurance — and regular home insurance doesn’t cover flood damage. That means millions of Texans are facing the prospect of repairing their homes and replacing belongings without much help from the insurance company.

State and national crisis relief organizations are stepping in to help, providing shelter, clean water, and necessary supplies like bandages and shelf-stable foods. But the need is great, and funds can run low when relief efforts stretch on for months or even years as the Harvey cleanup is expected to. That’s where donors come in — every dollar helps!

How you can help

By donating to reputable charities, you can support organizations that offer relief to those affected by natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey. There are many charities to choose from; be careful to choose a reputable organization like the American Red Cross or United Way. (A resource like Charity Navigator can help you decide which charity or charities you’d like to support.)

Organizations trying to incentivize donations

In the wake of Harvey, organizations across the country are offering incentives to help drum up donations quickly. Some, like Amazon, will match donations up to a certain amount. Others are incentivizing donations with offers of loyalty points or miles. American Airlines and United Airlines are two such companies.

Here are the details.

Donating via United Airlines

Eligible charities

Donate to any of the following charities through the official event page to receive up to 1,000 bonus miles. (United will also match the first $200,000 raised in donations.)

  • American Red Cross
  • Greater Houston Community Foundation
  • Airlink
  • Americares
  • Operation USA

The incentive

To receive bonus miles, donate by 11:59pm CST on September 15, 2017. The amount of MileagePlus bonus miles you will earn will vary accordingly by donation amount:

United Airlines donation incentives

Donation Points earned
$50 – $99 USD 250 miles
$100 – $249 USD 500 miles
$250 USD or more 1,000 miles

3 million total MileagePlus miles are available through this offer and are first come, first served. (See the offer terms for more details.)

How to donate

Visit the official event page and select donate to a fundraiser at the top of the page, then select a charity. If you choose the American Red Cross, click “Hurricane Harvey” under the Select a Red Cross cause dropdown menu.

Donating via American Airlines

Eligible charity: the American Red Cross

American Airlines is teaming up with the Red Cross to raise funding for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, as well as for more generalized Disaster Relief funds.

The incentive

Now through Donate by September 24, 2017, AAdvantage mileage members will earn 10 miles per dollar donated (minimum $25 donation). The bigger your donation, the more AAdvantage miles you will earn. Donations to the American Red Cross are also tax deductible.

How to donate

Visit the official event page and select a donation amount to get started. Under the I want to support dropdown menu, choose “Hurricane Harvey.”

A note on credit card points transfer

If you have a travel, airline, or business credit card, your rewards program may include points transfer to United or American (or both).

Here’s a list of the cards with points transfer:

Credit card points transfer to American and United

Card Points transfer to
  • *
  • *
United MileagePlus®
  • American Airlines AAdvantage
  • United Mileage Plus®
Select American Airlines travel partners**

* Chase cards marked with an asterisk (*) require access to a premium Chase Ultimate Rewards® account. Points are transferrable from the and to travel partners if you also own one of the cards on the list without an asterisk (*), such as the .

** does not allow points transfer directly to American Airlines AAdvantage. However, it does allow points transfer to airlines like British Airways and Hawaiian, which partner with American Airlines.