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How Charitable Donations Can Help Your Points & Miles Game

Donating to charity is a great way to earn more points and miles. We explain how doing good to others can help your points and miles plan.
Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

How Charitable Donations Can Help Your Points & Miles Game

Donating to charity is a great way to earn more points and miles. We explain how doing good to others can help your points and miles plan.

Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

The end of the year is a popular time to make charitable donations, as we’re filled with the holiday spirit. As points and miles enthusiasts, many of us already use credit cards to make donations. But here are a couple of ways donations can really boost your points and miles game.

Meeting Minimum Spend

There is no shortage of reasons for us to spend a little more than usual at the end of the year. Whether it’s Black Friday/Cyber Monday or the year-end holidays, a lot of people open cards in Q4 knowing that it will be easier to hit a minimum spend. But what if a card has a particularly hefty minimum spend requirement? Or if you end up not shopping that much? That's when a charitable donation can help.

Countless organizations accept credit card donations online. This means you can hit a minimum spend while still doing some good! And if you’re concerned that credit card fees will chip away at your donation, many organizations offer the option to have you cover those fees, which are typically around three percent. For the amount of points or miles you’ll be receiving from that welcome bonus, it might be worth offsetting that fee for your favorite charity.

Organizations like SOME (So Others Might Eat) offer donors the option to cover credit card-related fees.

Southwest Companion Pass

Hitting a minimum spend becomes even more important when going for the Southwest Companion Pass. Not only do you need to hit minimum spend to earn your miles, but you need to time those miles properly to maximize the duration of your Companion Pass.

For those unfamiliar, the Companion Pass allows you to bring a companion for free on every Southwest flight you take. The Companion Pass lasts for the rest of the calendar year when you first earn it, plus the following calendar year. Therefore, if you receive the Companion Pass in January of 2021, you can bring a companion on every flight you take for free until December 31, 2022! ToP's Southwest Companion Pass guide has a lot more detail on how to get this incredible perk.

The last two times my wife and I earned the Companion Pass, we did so by making donations on December 31 to meet a minimum spend. Specifically, we made the donations early in the evening before heading out to celebrate for New Year’s Eve. This ensured that the charges would only post the next day (and in the new year). But the donation receipt still showed a date of December 31, so we could include it with that year’s taxes.

Last year, we met a minimum spend on our Southwest Rapid Rewards Business Credit Card before ringing in the New Year in Tokyo.

Final Thoughts

Earning points and miles while donating to a good cause is a great feeling. Regardless of the time of year, you can always donate to charity online to help meet a minimum spend on a new credit card. Charitable donations can also help with other spending bonuses, such as retention offers. This method is even more helpful for those seeking the Southwest Companion Pass, which requires precise timing. And even if you're not meeting minimum spend on a new card but are feeling generous, make sure you use a card that earns you extra points on everyday spend.

Do you have a favorite charity you like to contribute to with your credit cards? Come share it in our Facebook group!

Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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