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Good Samaritan Gifts Frequent Flyer Miles To Strangers For The Holidays

By Sharelle Burt

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Traveling during the holidays can be stressful and on top of that, extremely expensive. To help some people avoid the stress, one man decided to play secret Santa to bless others in need.

Peter Shankman decided to donate his frequent flyer miles for United Airlines to total strangers who can’t afford travel tickets. As someone who travels often, flying close to 300,000 miles per year, Shankman gets miles with trips across America, Asia, and Europe.

“The amount of travel I do gives me a ton of miles,” Shankman said. “So being able to give back this way is the best thing I know how to do with them, and I can only give so many free trips to my parents, and my assistant and her boyfriend.”

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The podcast host and book author has been doing this good deed for the past four years and uses social site Imgur to select travelers. Those that want to be selected share their stories and then Shankman encourages users to vote on the most worthy posts, selecting those with the most votes.

“I truly believe that if you’ve had any modicum of success, you have a responsibility to ‘send the elevator back down,’ as it were,” Shankman explained. “Giving away trips home for the holidays to people who might not be able to afford them is the best way I know how to do that. Secondly, it’s a blast to teach my daughter about giving back.”


So far this year, five Imgur users have been selected to use the miles, sending six people home in total. Potentially, a few more may be chosen. A user can send requests on behave of other friends and relatives. One user asked that their mother be able to visit their deceased brother’s “final resting place.”

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