How your unneeded travel rewards can make a difference

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By Hugh Biggar,

Fabrice Coffrini AFP via Getty Images

Miles4Migrants was launched in 2016; the idea behind the organization was conceived in a Reddit travel points discussion group.

After nearly two years on the move, Ajapwoh Sergeo found himself in October in an unfamiliar city possessing little more than his passport from Cameroon. Having so far walked through bandit-filled jungles and ridden buses across Central America, his journey of thousands of miles ends, as it has for more than 3,000 other refugees and asylum seekers like him, with one final unexpected step: frequent flier miles.

The miles are courtesy of a small, mostly volunteer organization, Miles4Migrants, that collects donated airline miles, credit card points and cash to help migrants reach their destination or reunite with family members as the number of displaced people in the world continues to soar even with the coronavirus pandemic closing borders. According to the United Nations, there are roughly 1.4 million people in need of resettlement.

“We help those fleeing war, persecution, natural disasters, and [who] have legal permission to travel but cannot afford airlines,” said Seth Stanton, who co-founded Miles4Migrants in 2016 with two acquaintances, Nick Ruiz and Andy Freedman.

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