What happens to airline miles and travel points after divorce?

On Behalf of | Jan 16, 2020 | Divorce |

Nowadays, it seems like every airline, hotel, booking service and excursion program has a loyalty program. If you and your spouse travel frequently, you may love taking advantage of travel points. After all, good loyalty programs can save you a considerable amount every time you go on a trip.

Michigan law requires equitable distribution of marital assets during divorce proceedings. While this approach ensures that you receive a fair share, it does not necessarily mean that you will get half of everything that you and your spouse own together. When it comes to airline miles and other travel points, though, you may have some decisions to make.

Valuing travel points 

Before you can decide what to do with your awards points, you must know how much they are worth. Calculating the value of accrued points, however, may be easier said than done. While some programs assign a cash value, many others do not. Therefore, you may have to estimate how much worth your accrued points have based on the benefit they offer. For example, if you have enough points for a free flight anywhere in the United States, the value of your airline miles may be equivalent to the cost of a flight to Los Angeles or New York.

Dividing travel points 

If your accrued rewards points are marital property, you must divide them equitably. Of course, unlike cash that you can easily split, travel points may be hard to divvy up. You may be able to contact the issuer and have points divided between two separate accounts. If you go this route, though, you may incur significant financial penalties. Furthermore, the program may expressly prohibit transferring ownership of awards.

While you and your spouse may both want to keep travel points, doing so may be impractical. Rather than trying to divide benefits from every program, you may choose to give up other assets in exchange for exclusive ownership of your awards points. Regardless, by understanding your options, you can better advocate for a fair share of your accumulated travel perks.