08/30/2012 05:13 pm ET Updated Oct 30, 2012

The Best Way to Help Hurricane Victims That No One Knows About

As expected, Hurricane Isaac is now wreaking havoc in Louisiana -- and New Orleans in particular -- as the storm surge floods out coastal communities and displaces thousands of people.

Unless you live in the Bayou, you're probably just watching video of the hurricane damage on TV and feeling badly for the people down there.

To add insult to injury, Isaac made landfall on the seven-year anniversary of Katrina.

You just can't make this stuff up.

Of course, there are the usual ways to pitch in. You could text $10 to aid relief efforts, donate old clothes and shoes or even give blood. But there is another option that most people don't realize.

You can donate airline miles.

That's right. The Red Cross can receive frequent flyer miles from Delta, United and US Airways.

Why give away your precious miles?

Because the Red Cross often needs planes to deliver supplies or carry people/pets from disaster zones.

United and US Airways ask for a minimum donation of 500 and 1,000 miles, respectively. Delta lets you choose any amount you want.

Just make sure you list 'Red Cross' as the miles recipient whenever prompted.

Seven years ago, we all watched New Orleans suffer. This time, we can pass along a little love...and we don't even have to leave our desks.

What could be easier?

Here are the details:


To donate miles by mail, e-mail or fax, please prepare your request in writing making sure to include the following information:

- Your SkyMiles account number
- The number of miles you want to donate
- The name of the organization you want to receive your donation

By e-mail:

United Airlines

Mileage Plus members can make donations to the American Red Cross through United Airline's Mileage Plus charity program. The minimum mileage requirement for a donation is 500 miles. All donations should be made by visiting the Mileage Plus Service Center or by calling 1-800-421-4655

US Airways

Members may donate miles in 1,000-mile increments to the Miles of Hope program by visiting the airline's website.