Points for Good: We Can (All) Make a Difference

This Average Joe collects a lot of rewards points every year. A whole lot. And, as I get better at the credit card games I find myself collecting ever more hotel points, airline miles, and cash back bonuses. Recently I received my newest card. And, as I was studying the rewards structure and assorted bonuses that they offer, I got to thinking, ‘how many free nights and free flights can I use?’

I already collect enough points that I am able to give many of them away to family and friends. And, whenever I do, I feel really good about it. I am helping my friends and family do something exciting, go somewhere, or take a trip that otherwise they might not be able to do. And, I have enough points that when asked, it never really sets me back from the things I want to do, so I don’t mind sharing.

Which is what got me onto this subject. What if I could do more than give away the occasional hotel rooms or free flights? What if I could use those points for something more powerful than a vacation for myself or my family?

Could I do more with the rewards points I collect? What if WE, the Average Joes, could do more with the points we gather as a community?

Points for Good

Many rewards programs already allow you to share your points with worthwhile charities. For example, Delta Airlines allows you to donate air miles through their SkyWish program.  Marriott allows you to donate directly to individual charities through their program. Mobee allows you to donate your secret shopper money directly to a charity of your choice.

But, I want to take my reward points to the micro level; help a cause locally in one of the communities that I visit.

So, with my new card in hand (a store rewards card), I have decided I would use all the points I gather with this store card to benefit someone or some organization locally. And, when I say locally, I will use these new found reward points for a direct cause that I can immediately see. And, that has me thinking.

What Would You Do?

As I started thinking about what I could do, a few ideas jumped out at me right off the top:

  • I have several friends that are teachers. I was thinking maybe I would use the points to buy a truckload of school supplies for their classroom.
  • I like dogs. Maybe I will use the points to load up on kennel supplies and take the supplies to the nearest dog shelter.
  • Or, maybe next winter, I could use the points to buy coats and donate them to the nearest people shelter.

The options and the needs in our communities are endless. I bet we could all come up with some ideas on how to use points locally to benefit our local communities. So, what would you do with your reward points if you were to donate them? How would you share them or use them to benefit someone or something in your local community? I am curious and of course I am looking for a few ideas.