National Shoe Travelers Launches Campaign to Raise Airline Miles for Make-A-Wish at FN PLATFORM Trade Show

Inspired by members of the shoe retail community, NST creates a partnership with Make-A-Wish to raise airline miles.

Official charity of NST

Traveling wholesale reps rack up air miles by the tens of thousands every year. Most of the miles expire or go on never to be used. NST has found a way to use those miles to help children with life-threatening medical conditions – donate them to Make-A-Wish.

Chief Membership Officer for National Shoe Travelers (NST), Terry Bastis, says the inspiration to pursue a partnership with Make-A-Wish came after conversations with fellow wholesale reps who were lamenting having their airline miles expire. “We were sharing stories of our careers in sales when the topic of expired miles came up,” says Bastis. “All of us regretted the fact that our airlines miles weren’t being used. We would joke about which magazines we were going to buy with our air miles.”Weeks later Bastis found herself in an airport where she witnessed the arrival of a child whose trip was granted by Make-A-Wish. “It was a beautiful emotional moment to witness. Kids were wearing Make-A-Wish t-shirts. Parents were smiling and crying. I was watching a child’s wish come true before my very eyes,” said Bastis. When she arrived at her home, she decided to reach out to Make-A-Wish.

While talking with Make-A-Wish about the many ways people can help the organization, Terry learned how important airlines miles are to Make-A-Wish. “It was a ‘aha’ moment,” said Terry,” Traveling wholesale reps are a great source of untapped airline miles.”

“Air Travel factors into nearly 77% of the life-changing wishes that chapters grant,” says Laila Cook, CEO for Make-A-Wish Oregon. “By donating air miles, supporters of Make-A-Wish can help kids travel to the destinations of their one true wish.” Some estimates show there are more than 16 trillion frequent flier miles that go unused each year and 25 percent of people let their miles expire. In contrast, the impact of a wish can last a lifetime.

Terry Bastis presented the idea of donating miles to the NST board and everyone was all in. They decided to promote the fundraising opportunity at the upcoming FN PLATFORM/Magic show in Las Vegas, NV. Leslie Gallin, President of Footwear at UBM, LLC, has donated the InPlay Lounge as a place to donate miles to Make-A-Wish at the convention. Make-A-Wish, will join representatives from NST to answer questions and accept donated air miles. “We wanted to create an event at FN PLATFORM where members, non-members and anyone who works in the wholesale industry could stop by and make a wish come true,” said Bastis.