If you’re doing a lot of travel this holiday season, consider donating any extra frequent flier miles (/travel rewards/bonus miles) to The Extra Mile. The nonprofit startup collects donated frequent flyer miles and gives them to family and friends of terminally ill patients so they can visit their loved ones.
What a cool idea, right? Like bakeries giving day-old bread to food shelters — which, unlike Deborah, I think is swell — it puts something that may otherwise go to waste into use helping others.
The Extra Mile was founded by Matt Dimmer, who spent months traveling back and forth between Los Angeles and Michigan after his father was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer.
“During this extremely stressful span, I spent a lot of time on airplanes, and when I wasn’t focused on the idea of losing him, I thought about people in similar situations who couldn’t afford to do what I was doing,” Dimmer writes.
“I couldn’t imagine not being able to see him that one last time before he was gone. So one Sunday, while sitting the backyard, I posted the idea on my FB page. Within minutes there were 70 something likes, and 30 some comments that became the early stages of ideation for this organization. It was at that moment that I decided it was happening. A few months after beginning The Extra Mile, my dad passed away, but not before seeing the early sketches of the plans. I’m creating this in his honor, to help others, because that’s what he would do.
The organization is still in the process of working out how to best allow people to donate small portions of miles. If you’re interested in donating an entire round-trip flight, you can get in touch with Dimmer at matt @ thextramile.org.