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This post is going to be very different than the norm. There will be no points and miles deals, but instead a way to give back to the community and put a smile on the person’s face who started it all. The one good thing is the steps I am going to describe below will get your points and miles on your credit card and is a great way to meet minimum spend requirements (hopefully that caught your attention!). If there is one post you should fully read, make it this one! So here we go…
There is pretty much one guy who started it all – Randy Petersen. For those of you who do not know him, he is the guru among the points and miles world. He started the blogging platform BoardingArea, along with many other frequent flyer websites. Without him, you we would all probably be lost in the miles and points world and be paying a hell of a lot more for vacations!!
So why am I randomly writing about this guy? Well, you may or may not be aware, but Colorado Springs got hit with a huge hail storm this past week – actually two of them. While Randy is not flying, he spends his time with his wife at home in Colorado Springs. A bunch of us bloggers went out for dinner with Randy this past week and the next day we found out (via Twitter!) that his house essentially got wrecked.
For those of you who are part of the frequent traveler world and know Randy, you are well aware that he would do anything for anyone. He probably gives back more than anyone I’ve ever met. Believe it or not, he flew around South America during some awesome promotion years ago, earned a million miles, and donated them all to charity! How many of you can say you would do that?! So when a bunch of us bloggers found out about his house, we thought “How can we put a smile on Randy’s face.” He has done so much for us and this community, maybe it is our turn to give back. We know that the organization Kiva is very near and dear to his heart, so we decided we would help reach a goal that Randy has been trying to get to. Currently the frequent flyer community (called the Milepoint lending team) currently has 898 Kiva members and their goal is to exceed 1,000 members. So this is how we have decided to give back to Randy – help him exceed his goal!
For those of you who are not aware of Kiva, it “allows people to lend money via the internet to people in developing countries through Kiva’s 142 partner microfinance institutions.” In short, it is a non-profit where you can lend money to someone to help start a business, where they would otherwise not have the funds. This is not a donation, but instead a loan. Kiva’s current repayment rate overall is 99% – which is awesome!
I must admit, I had not yet joined, but just did. This is a great way to make a positive impact and hopefully help others in developing communities hit their life long dream and be able to support their family. It is really easy to do, especially when you follow my handy-dandy guide below!
Steps to Joining the Kiva Milepoint Lending Team and Lend Money!
- Join the Frequent Flyer Milepoint team. This is my “refer a friend” link, but all it does is ensures you are automatically part of the Milepoint team. There is no referral on my side, I promise – this is all non-profit!
- Currently, you are able to loan your first $25 for free! While this sort of defeats the purpose, it helps get your feet wet and still do something good. Once you are more comfortable with Kiva, you can then go ahead and lend many more times! Only loans that you actually pay for have the potential to get paid back (with no interest).
- Scroll down to the way bottom of the page to search for someone to loan to.
- Search through the 4,000+ borrowers to lend to! There are many ways to search as well. I personally searched by country as I wanted to lend to someone in Cambodia. After my trip there two years ago I witnessed the poor living conditions, but the dedication they have to work and make money. I wanted to help someone in a country that touched my heart. The money I lent will go to a women to buy feed for her pigs. This is my borrowers story:
“Living in a rural village located in the Sangke district, Soeun is a 59-year-old widow and has seven children, only one of whom is dependent on her. Pig raising is a primary source of her income to make a living. She raises six pigs and she has been in this business for several years. The main challenge for her business is the illness of the pig.”
You can read more about their story and what they will do with the money by selecting the “Read their story” link. Once you select the borrower of your choice, click the “$25 Free Trial.” This will tell you more about the loan terms as well.
- Since this is your first time, you will need to fill out a form with your personal information.
- Once you feel comfortable with the process, you can go ahead and lend away! You can lend between $25 and $500 towards each borrower in $25 increments – you can charge this amount straight to your credit card via PayPal. You will receive progress updates on the loan as well. Once the loan is paid back, you will receive your money back. Remember, this is not 100% guaranteed, but today’s statistics are very very good. You can also search for loans that have higher repayment stats.
- Assuming you get paid back, you have two options: 1) cash out, or 2) reinvest the loan. If you decide to reinvest the loan and you are trying to up your credit card spend, make sure to cash out and then start fresh with a new loan payment. PayPal is not charging any transaction fees to you or Kiva for using your credit card, so this is a great way to meet minimum spend requirements on a credit card while putting your money to a good cause.
Thanks all for joining the Kiva Milepoint team. I am sure you’ve put a smile on many faces today while also earning a few credit card points!