Singer and Stand Up To Cancer Ambassador Mandy Moore is the spokesperson for the American Airlines fundraising campaign. Her father retired as an American Airlines pilot last year.
Through September 30 American will reward donations with:
- 25 miles per dollar
- 50 miles per dollar if you pay with an American Airlines U.S.-issued cobrand Mastercard, on up to $10,000 in donations
The miles earned for donations to Stand Up To Cancer do not count as Loyalty Points. Remember that this is American Airlines (and Mastercard) supporting a fundraising drive, not Stand Up To Cancer buying Loyalty Points (which American charges quite a lot for!). So this won’t help your quest for status. Too bad, a $4000 donation to charity would earn Executive Platinum status if it did!
Stand Up To Cancer is not actually an organization. It’s a project of the Entertainment Industry Foundation. They do make large grants to medical research. Donations are actually made to the Entertainment Industry Foundation, which is a 501(c)3 public charity, so normal donations are tax deductible.
I will leave it to you or your tax advisor to determine the value of a deduction is reduced by the American Airlines miles received in exchange for that donation. The fine print on the offer suggests, bluntly, “Due to the receipt of miles, donations over $75 are not tax deductible for this promotion.”
I’m frankly somewhat more concerned about actually getting the full 50 miles per dollar promised for paying by Mastercard. If you click through and read the details of the offer there is this: “Promotion ends September 30, 2022 or when overall promotion donations total $1,000,000.”
It is not clear to me that you will know when the cumulative total of donations reaches $1 million, exhausting what appears to be Mastercard’s match. One million dollars at an extra 25 miles per dollar would mean 25 million miles. If they’re funding those miles at a discount from American it may represent a $250,000 commitment of support.
Is it possible that the $1 million threshold will be reached, and Mastercard will cut off the additional mileage-earning funds, but that won’t flow through to the website? With SimplyMiles and year-end 2021 donations to Charity International this happened and it took a few days for Mastercard to get approval for additional dollars to fund miles for consumers who fully expected to receive them.
If you’re interested in earning 50 miles per dollar on donations to cancer programs, likely without a tax deduction (but many of you don’t itemize anyway!), then it’s advisable to act quickly since the offer is just out today and probably hasn’t reached its cap yet and won’t for a little bit. I still like wrapping a plane with the names of supporters though.