Loyalty Companies Let People Donate Points

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Online and offline loyalty companies are assisting in relief efforts by allowing members to donate their points to the American Red Cross and other organizations.

At MyPoints.com, San Francisco, more than 36,000 members of the program donated over $300,000 worth of their points go to the Red Cross's relief efforts in New York City and Washington, DC.

"Obviously, the events have been extraordinary, so the response has been extraordinary," said Bernie Yu, senior vice president, marketing, for MyPoints.com.

Members can make donations in 200-point increments, so many members have made multiple 200-point donations. MyPoints.com has had 65,000 transactions in the program since September 11. "Some people are donating their entire balance, and some folks are donating their partial balance," Yu said.

Typically, he said, some of the loyalty program's 10 million members donate $2,000 to $3,000 to the American Red Cross monthly.

The front page of MyPoints.com advises members: "Reward yourself by giving to those in need! A donation to the American Red Cross goes a long way to help people around the world and in your neighborhood."

Yahoo is allowing its members to donate their points in 1,000-point increments to JustGive, which created the JustGive Relief Fund to provide money to the families of firemen and policemen who lost their lives, along with the families of the airline victims.

The funds will also be dispersed to aid "efforts to find missing persons and subsequent efforts to build a memorial," according to Yahoo.

Yahoo established the program Sept.14, and $15,000 had been donated by Sept. 17.

Yahoo members with more than 1,000 points (the standard Yahoo has used in the past with various charity funds) can donate in increments of $10, $25, $50, $100 or $250.

The fund is promoted on Yahoo main page, along with its Companion and Points pages.

Meanwhile, Sperry & Hutchinson's Greenpoints program, which allows consumers to redeem rewards online for points earned at supermarkets and other venues, is offering members the option of donating funds to United Way's September 11 Fund and the American Red Cross or donating their Greenpoints.

S & H's supermarket partners include Foodtown, with stores in New York and New Jersey, and Lowe's Foods and Carter's Foods, which also have stores in the area.

"Your donation will help in the disaster relief efforts for the victims and families affected by these attacks. Additionally, S & H will match up to the first five million Greenpoints donated," the company states on the front page of its site, www.greenpoints.com.

S & H did not return phone calls for comment.


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