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The widespread impact of the coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented. Worldwide, more than 1.3 million people have tested positive for COVID-19, and in the U.S., over 10 million people have filed for unemployment in the past three weeks.
It can be easy to feel overwhelmed, but thankfully there are lots of ways to give back to the people who are most impacted, including those on the front lines of care and those suffering economic blows. And in some cases, it's possible to donate your credit card points to charitable organizations. There are even a few issuers who are offering to match their customers' donations.
Below, CNBC Select highlights how Amex and United Airlines are doubling their cardmembers' contributions to critical nationwide relief so you can make sure your donations have the most positive impact.
If your Amex card earns Membership Rewards® points, you can donate to more than 1.5 million organizations through the charitable giving platform JustGiving. And right now, American Express is expanding this program and matching all charitable donations made to Feeding America, the largest domestic hunger relief organization, which has a nationwide network of over 200 food banks.
Amex has pledged to match up to $1 million in total donations. Your donations will help food banks that provide meals to children and families while schools are shut down. Feeding America is also organizing emergency food delivery and drive-thru food distribution locations.
Cards that earn Membership Rewards points include:
- Amex EveryDay® Credit Card
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
- American Express® Gold Card
- American Express® Green Card
- American Express® Business Gold Card
- The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
In addition to matching your donations, Amex is also partnering with Hilton to provide up to 1 million free hotel room nights across the U.S. to medical professionals on the front line.
From now through June 30, United will match up to 500,000 miles per campaign or charity that provides direct relief for coronavirus. You can view all of the COVID-19 relief campaigns on United's Miles on a Mission website, which notes that the blue heart symbol indicates that your miles will be matched.
You need a minimum of 1,000 miles to donate.
One front-line campaign United is supporting is Operation USA COVID-19 Response, organized by Operation USA, a nonprofit aid organization dedicated to help children and families recover in the wake of disasters.
Operation USA is currently working to deliver masks, gloves, gowns and other personal protective equipment (PPE) along with medical supplies to front line workers. It is also organizing delivery of hand sanitizer, water and other essentials to vulnerable groups including children, seniors and people who are homeless.
Since 1979, Operation USA has delivered $400 million in aid to 100 countries, including many communities in the U.S. Its coronavirus relief will be mainly concentrated in California, where the majority of its partners are. Charity Watch gives this organization a B grade and it has a Gold rating on Guide Star.
Another campaign is Miles for Be The Match® COVID-19 Rapid Response" organized by the national bone marrow donation nonprofit, Be The Match. This campaign is meant to help supplement travel costs so that genetically matched blood cell donors can fly to their patients. In a time of increasing travel restrictions, this is a heightened need. Be The Match Foundation has a Platinum rating on Guide Star.
Credit cards that earn United Miles include:
- United℠ Explorer Card
- United Club℠ Infinite Card
- United Club℠ Card
- United Club℠ Business Card
- United℠ Business Card
Information about the American Express® Green Card, Amex EveryDay® Credit Card, United Club℠ Card, and United Club℠ Business Card, has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer prior to publication.
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