Who gets frequent flier miles after divorce?
Collecting air miles is a popular way to make the most of purchases. In Orange County, California, purchases have corresponding points that can be exchanged for certain rewards such as travel reward miles, which can be used to purchase airplane tickets for vacation.
But what happens to those points during divorce? Some couples collect points together and eventually divorce. Experts agree that reward points should be considered as part of the marital assets, which should be divided up at the end of the marriage.
Luckily, California thinks the same way. As an equitable property state, California considers reward points collected together during the marriage to be marital property. As such, these assets, like any other marital assets, should be counted in property division.
Any points acquired prior to marriage or through the use of personal funds are considered non-marital assets and thus are not subject to equitable division. It is important to understand that those claims may need to be proven.
One issue that most collectors face is the tangibility of reward points. If there is an actual cash value to the points, it is easy to divide them between the two spouses or one of the spouses can buy them from the other spouse. More often than not, airlines and hotels are very vague when it comes to awarding points. That makes it difficult for spouses to set a cash value.
If there is no actual cash value, the best thing to do is to contact the provider directly and have the provider divide up the points. Both parties should reach an amicable distribution of the points and rewards, if possible. This means that cooperation is important to successfully have those rewards shared without any hitches. Once divided, the points can become part of the divorce decree.
Air miles accumulated over years of countless transactions during the course of marriage is considered a prized possession for some. Those who feel strongly about the points may consider consulting a legal professional who has a lot of experience in handling divorces. The legal professional may be able to provide solutions for handling the intricacies of finances, including reward points, during divorce.
Source: Huffington Post, “Divorce air wars,” Stann Givens, April 27, 2013