Trillions of airline miles go unused each year. Instead of letting them expire or using them for magazine subscriptions, those miles can easily be donated to change the lives of sick kids battling life-threatening illnesses in the local community. On Apr. 2, Make-A-Wish Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia began a month-long campaign – Give Wishes Wings – focusing on the unique and critical need Make-A-Wish has for airline miles. The campaign encourages travelers who have unused airline miles to consider donating them to help grant the more than 75 percent of wishes that require travel for the local chapter.
The process to donate miles is simple:
1. Visit website greaterpawv.wish.org/wishes-in-flight
2. Choose from a number of supporting airlines, including Delta and United
3. Enter frequent flier information and number of miles
4. Help wish kids travel to their dream destinations
The number of miles an individual can donate ranges from a few hundred miles to millions. Donated miles never expire and are never used for anything other than wish travel for wish kids and their families.
Most people have seen or heard of a wish come true – whether it’s a 5-year-old boy rescuing a city as his favorite superhero, a young girl wishing to dance with a prince, or a teenager relishing beachside moments in the Caribbean, miles away from the thought of treatment and the pain of hospital visits. However, few people recognize the resources Make-A-Wish requires to make wishes possible.
“Travel is the most costly expense to our chapter,” said Judith Stone, president & CEO for Make-A-Wish Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia. “Donating airline miles is a little known way for supporters to help us grant more life-changing wishes without ever having to tap into their bank accounts.”
Some estimates show there are more than 16 trillion frequent flier miles that go unused each year and some 25 percent of people let their miles expire or at the last minute use miles for magazine subscriptions or a one-time upgrade. In contrast, the impact of a wish can last a lifetime. In fact, medical professionals say wish experiences can improve children’s state of mind, make them more willing to comply with treatment requirements, and even influence their physical health. Former wish kids tell us their wish experience improved their health and strength; gave them more confidence and the will to pursue more challenging life goals; made them more philanthropic and compassionate; and even helped save their lives.
Give Wishes Wings is the most ambitious airline miles initiative in Make-A-Wish history. Make-AWish Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia joined Make-A-Wish chapters throughout the country in its activation of the April campaign, which includes brand new broadcast, print and online PSA and advertising features; a peer-to-peer challenge component that enlists social media to generate campaign support; and air miles drives throughout the month.