My military job is in a field that deals primarily with development and humanitarian aid.  One of the key tools in development is something called “micro loans”.  These are loans for a very small sum, typically less than $500, that allow a person to be productive and self-sustaining rather than begging for aid to survive.  A classic example is use a micro loan to buy a woman a sewing machine so she can have her own seamstress job and provide for her family.  Other examples, might be buying tools for a carpenter or piglets for a farmer.  These are all loans, not gifts, which means they need to be repaid.  In general, these are preferable to simply giving someone money or items as it creates a sense of responsibility and honor.  In fact, micro loan repayment is over 99% in most cases that I am familiar with.

Kiva is probably the best known micro lending program.  They have pages of requestors who specify what they are trying to raise money for and you can then contribute to the total they are seeking.  Sort of like a Go Fund Me page.  Then you will be paid back by the entrepreneur over a period of 2-5 years.  This is not something you are going to make any real money on, but it is a great way to help out people in need.

I got an exciting email today that PayPal will essentially double the amount of your giving up to $25.  You give a loan through Kiva and then PayPal gives you a $25 credit for you to make another loan with.  The reason this ends up being a frequent flyer deal is that Kiva takes credit cards and thus you can meet your minimum spend, but eventually get paid back.

This only applies to the first 10,000 people who apply and only October 15-25th in any case.  Better act fast if you want to take advantage!


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It’s that time of year for our annual list of Veterans’ Day deals.  Hope you have the chance to get a free meal or a great discount.  Here is this year’s list:

    1. Red Robin:  They get first mention because they emailed me directly to tout their deal for us.

      Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews Salutes Military with Free Tavern Double Burger and Bottomless Steak Fries on Veterans Day

      The Gourmet Burger Authority™ to Donate $10,000 to USO in Honor of Those Who Serveredrobin

    2. UNO Pizzeria has a good deal too (and I love their Chicago style pizza).  They will give you a free entrée or individual pizza.
    3. unoDon’t forget Chipotle.  They are offering a BOGO (Buy One, Get One free) on burritos and most of their items, Stop by Chipotle with your U.S. military ID on Friday, November 11th, from 3pm-close so you can receive A BUY-ONE/GET-ONE FREE BURRITO, BOWL, SALAD OR ORDER OF TACOS as a small (foil-wrapped) token of thanks for your service. e5bcfd03-33ef-4b07-9650-b70a905d82a3

I just highlighted my favorites, but here is the complete list:

2015 List of Confirmed Restaurants (last updated 11/3/15)

Buy 1 Get 1 Free, Veterans Day Offers

FREE Meals from 2014


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We’ve written before about the Hero Miles Program and Fisher House and their cause to help our wounded warriors and their families.  These mileage donations go to pay for transporting the families to visit their loved ones which they are in hospitals or Warrior Transition Units (WTU).  The Fisher Houses provide a place to stay for the families, but they need the limes to get to the Soldier’s location.

AS Hero Miles

Alaska Airlines sponsors the Hero Miles Program as one of nine charities they support.  They have a new post about donating 1,000,000 miles to support this worthy cause.  Alaska is encouraging all of you to also donate your miles and help this cause.  You can also contribute with a donation as little as 1,000 miles.  You can do so by following this link.  If you want to donate directly to Fisher House you can find them at

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OK, at the end of 26.2 miles I wasn’t really sure that I had survived and felt more like the walking dead.  But I did make it and get to check running a marathon off my bucket list.  The most I had run previously was a half-marathon way back when I was a 2LT in Korea.  Yes, I had been practicing all summer, but those runs never got beyond ten miles so that proved wholly inadequate.  It was a miserable last four miles!

I can’t legitimately say that Charlie never broke a sweat.  If fact, he was totally drenched a few miles into the run.  He had used up all his shorts in the previous fine marathons in Athens, Cairo, Abu Dhabi, Sydney, and Santiago so he was stuck with long pants on a very humid day.  At least the rain the previous night had cooled things down to about 80.  The day before was 90 degrees and I am not sure how we would have survived that!

Charlie didn’t have time to post much since he was either running a marathon or on a plane each of the last five days.  The local news even interviewed him before our run and was pretty stunned at running five marathons, including two in one day, and then going for a sixth.  He raised a fair bit for The Wounded Warrior Project and I personally thank him for that as there certainly is a lot of need for them beyond what Uncle Sam provides.  As someone who grew up with a paraplegic father I can relate extremely well as to how simple things can be very difficult for those who have lost a limb or other capacity.  Charlie should have a lot to say over the next couple of weeks about his adventures, so make sure and check out his blog, Running with Miles.

I’ve got to recover fast, got a jump from a C-17 tomorrow!

Marine Marathon 001 Marine Marathon 003

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For those of you who like running, I gave you ample warning to get ready a couple of months ago.  However, Charlie (from Running with Miles)and I will appreciate your support even if you do not decide to shed a little sweat with us.  Of course Charlie is the real crazy one – six marathons in six days on six different continents!  Personally, I am hoping Charlie is pretty worn out by the time he gets to the last run in D.C.  I would be happy if I could maintain even a 10 minute mile for that distance…

The Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va., can be seen prior to the Sunset Parade June 4, 2013. Sunset Parades are held every Tuesday during the summer months. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Adrian R. Rowan/Released)

The Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va., can be seen prior to the Sunset Parade June 4, 2013. Sunset Parades are held every Tuesday during the summer months. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Adrian R. Rowan/Released)


C’mon out and run a little with us next Thursday 10 Sep, or wait for us at the finish line at the Marine Memorial (~1600-1700).  More importantly, we would appreciate your donations to a very worthy cause – The Wounded Warrior Project. Charlie’s donation page is here and anything that you can give is very appreciated.  We’ll be following (roughly, the Marine Corps Marathon route.  Hope you can make even just to say congrats at the end!


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Andy and I hosted a great meet-up of our readers plus a couple of our fellow bloggers from Boarding Area. We were privileged to have Keri from HeelsFirst Travel and Jeanne for LeChicGeek, fellow bloggers show up for the festivities.  We really appreciated the other readers who showed and had a great time talking both about military stuff and miles/points and other tips for frequent travelers.  A couple of the readers also turned out to read HeelsFirstTravel and LeChicGeek so we had a great exchange of travel experiences and tips.

Sorry if you missed out, but drop us a note and let us know where you are if you want to meet with Andy or I.  We both travel a lot and would be glad to meet with readers no matters where you are stationed.

Meetup 003

Andy, Keri, Glenn, and Jeanne.  Does this shirt make me look fat?

Meetup 002 Meetup 007

Drinks and talk.  For those of you who didn’t come and get the free chicken wings I ordered, send me a stamped self-addressed envelope and I will mail one to you.  Andy is off to Oki after this so not sure when you will see the two of us together, but don’t be afraid to reach out for a connection.  We love talking to all our readers!

I also took the opportunity to advertise for my friend Charlie’s crazy six marathon run.  The last of the six runs takes place in D.C. on 10 Sep and follows the Marine Corps Marathon route.  I am joining in and I hope a few others of you can also.  Personally, I am hoping Charlie is worn out by the time he gets to D.C. so that I have a hope of matching his pace!

He is doing this all as a charitable event to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.  Please join or donate, hopefully both.  I am giving $262, so $10/mile (even if I can’t finish the whole thing).  We look forward to seeing the bravest of you there.

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I have written before about Hero Miles, the charity that allows you to donate your miles to help out the Fisher House.  Fisher Houses are now located on almost every post and base that has a hospital.  The purpose of this house is to house the family members of hospitalized warriors so they can be close to their loved ones in time of need.  They also eliminate the need for the Service Members family to do into debt with airline and hotel costs.

It has been a while since I last wrote about them, so when Ashley contacted me about doing a post, I was all too happy to do so.  She also gave me the personal details on a couple of cases so you could see the kind of military families that are helped by this worthy organization.

If every traveler donated just 1,000 of their frequent flyer miles, the Fisher House Foundation and it’s Hero Miles program could ensure every Veteran, military member and family member could be with their loved one when they are seeking treatment for injuries or illness.  We all have spare miles in our accounts and Hero Miles covers Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier and United.  Donate those miles you will probably never use or the spare ones left over after you have redeemed that free ticket.  Details on donating can be found here.

Just #1000Miles can help Army Veterans such as Ben Mitchell who survived injuries from three  rounds, live to fight another day. When Mitchell was hospitalized, the Fisher House Foundation was able to fly his family to his bedside and provide housing for them during the duration of his recovery. Mitchell credits his survival to his family’s support and his formidable desire to live for his lovely wife and twins.

Ben Mitchel
Retired US Army Colonel, Medical Services
  • After suffering injuries and losing his right leg during a military training exercise, Ben faced a 1-  1 1/2 year recovery. Thanks to his wife and his love for his twins, he was back on his feet in three months.  
  • At Brooke Army Medical Center BAMC, San Antonio TX he endured more than 12 surgeries.
  • He spent over 10 months at the Ft. Sam Houston Fisher House where he developed a new “family” with wounded soldiers, families and the Fisher House Staff. This experience was invaluable to his swift recovery and transition. 
  • Ben credits his “survival and inexplicable speedy recovery to three significant forces working seamlessly together: “(1) God’s desire to keep me alive for his purpose (2) A very talented medical staff lead by Dr. Crooce and Dr. Zar Zar and finally (3) my formidable desire and will to live for my lovely wife and twins.”


Another success story is that of CPT Wooten

Army Capt. Canndice Wooten and Army SSgt. Frank Wooten
    • When Canndice and Frank Wooten’s twins were born they were 2 ½ pounds and were in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for more than four months.
    • While their children were hospitalized, the Lackland Fisher House was their home and their refuge, allowing them to be just steps from their babies.
    • Canndice’s first experience with the Fisher House Foundation was after losing her first child in a complicated pregnancy. When she was hospitalized, the Fisher House Foundation flew her mother to her bedside. Her mother said, “I soon learned the Fisher House was a place of healing, a place where I could get a good night’s sleep and then just walk across the street and be there for my daughter. I didn’t even have to cook, food just showed up.  Bless God it was one of the best things ever.”

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Both Andy and I appreciate your generosity to this worthy charity.  Hopefully, none of your families will ever need to use it, but it is nice to know that it is there just in case.

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AA Charity

American Airlines often comes out with promotions around Veterans’ Day to donate through them to certain military charities for an increased amount of miles.  A normal charity dollar earns 10 miles, but through 10 July, you can get 15 per $.  Now they are having one for Memorial Day as well.  The mix of charities has also changed.  This time your donation goes to a wide variety of charities: The USO, Air Compassion for Veterans, Hero Miles, Snowball Express, Airpower Foundation, and The Honor Flight Network.  Several of these were new to me, so I thought I would give you a few details below.  You can access the main AA military charity site here.  I hope you all decide to donate tot hese worthy causes.  As a “pro tip”, this is a good way to keep your account active if you have AA miles that will expire.

The USO offers a variety of programs and services to lift the spirits of America’s troops and their families. The organization makes these programs available to as many eligible participants as possible, building awareness of these important tools to help in the recovery process when troops return home.

Air Compassion for Veterans provides medical-related air transportation for military, veterans and their families. Through Fuel Smart, a fuel-saving program that uses procedures to safely reduce fuel consumption, American has been able to contribute funds to help provide assistance.

The Hero Miles program helps provide round-trip airline tickets to wounded, injured and ill service members and/or their families who are undergoing treatment at a military or VA medical center; or who are attending an authorized event. Flights are made possible in part by mile donations to American’s Miles for All Who Serve program.

Snowball Express is one of the few charities dedicated to the children of our nation’s fallen military heroes. The all-volunteer nonprofit organization pays tribute to fallen military service members by helping their families connect with each other.
The Airpower Foundation is a nonprofit organization that raises money for programs that directly benefit veterans, military service members and their families. For the past 12 years, American has sponsored the group’s annual Sky Ball event, a black-tie gala and fundraising event.

The Honor Flight Network provides charter flights to veterans of various wars and conflicts to Washington, D.C., to view the memorials constructed to recognize their services and that of their fellow soldiers. The “Tour of Honor” relies on donated services and volunteers.

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Courtesy of my friend Brian who writes The Gate, here is a charity drive sponsored by Coca-Cola in cooperation with Kroger Supermarkets.  It is called Honoring Our Heroes and they have a two-fold drive.  The first is to donate 100,000 cans of Coke to the troops which you can help accomplish by simply clicking here.  Now I am sure there of those out there that think that there are better things we can give our military members than sugary caffeinated drinks (although it doesn’t seem to harm the young ones) and you are right.  The other drive is to raise money for one of my two favorite charities (the other being The Wounded Warrior Project) by soliciting a donation from you and then they will match that amount.  The ultimate goal is to raise $1,000,000 for Service Members and this fine organization.


We have written in the past about the USO which you can read here.  This is a great cause and we hope that you not only get a Coke in their hands, but also help a great organization such as the USO which of course you should be visiting whenever you are passing through the airport.

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