Giving Back: How can I donate my credit card rewards to charity?

Am I able to donate my credit card reward points to charity?

Do you have airline miles that are about to expire? Are you switching credit cards and have unused credit card reward points on your old card? Instead of letting your reward points go to waste, make a difference and donate them to charity.

Many credit card companies make it easy for you to donate your credit card reward points and miles to charity. You simply log into your account and click on the “Redeem Rewards” link and then donate your unused points the same way you redeem them for cash or merchandise. You can also call your credit card issuer and donate by phone.

Discover cardmembers can donate two ways: through Discover Giving and by donating their Cashback Bonus to charity. Discover Giving is a partnership with an organization called JustGive, which provides Discover cardmembers access to over 1.5 million charities that they can donate to with their Discover Card. Discover cardmembers can customize their gifts and set up one-time or recurring donations through Discover Giving. They can also designate how their gift is used, give in honor of a loved one or give anonymously.

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But, before you donate your reward points there are a few questions to ask:

Do you have enough reward points to donate?

While your goal might be to get rid of your leftover reward points, some issuers have a minimum amount of points required to make a donation. Typically the minimum donation about is between $10-$25 dollars or 1,000-2,500 reward points.

Are there any fees that will be charged to you or the charity for the donation?

Some credit cards waive transaction fees and absorb 100% of the transaction cost, ensuring your entire donation goes to the charity. Other issuers may not. It’s important to check with your issuer and see what fees are involved so you can understand the full impact of your donation.

Does your charity accept reward donations?

Unfortunately, not all charities accept credit card reward points. However, if your favorite charity doesn’t accept them, chances are your credit card issuer can help you find a great alternative. Most credit card issuers offer a variety of donation options through their partnerships with thousands of local, national and international charities.  

Is your donation tax deductible?

If you plan on making a sizeable donation (over $25) with your reward points, there is a chance it could be tax deductible. Make sure to keep your receipt and check with your accountant. Generally, donations in the form of miles are not tax deductible because the IRS considers them a gift or an award from the corporation.[1]

Will you earn more rewards when you make a donation with your credit card?

When you make a donation with a rewards credit card, you may be earning additional rewards. For example, Discover cardmembers who make a donation though the Discover Giving platform automatically earnCashback Bonus for every dollar they donate. Additionally, each year Discover contributes an extra $25,000 to the organization that receives the most donations from its cardmembers.

Donating your credit card rewards points and miles are wonderful and easy ways to support your favorite cause and help out during the holidays or provide relief in times of disaster.

[1] Source: Are Donated Airline Miles Tax Deductible?- eHow

Discover card believes that consumers should be armed with the information they need to help them make informed credit decisions.

Legal Disclaimer: The articles and information provided herein are for informational purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice.

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