If you are thinking about using your airline miles for a post-divorce vacation, you may need to reevaluate your plans. That is, because your soon-to-be ex-spouse may have an ownership interest in your airline miles, you may need to split them with him or her.
Dividing marital assets is part of the divorce process. When it comes to airline miles and other rewards points, though, determining post-divorce ownership is a potential quagmire.
Airline miles may have no cash value
The easiest way to divide many marital assets is usually first to determine their value in cash. Unfortunately, though, many rewards programs specifically state their points have no cash value. Others assign some nominal value to accrued points.
Either way, if it serves his or her interests, you should expect your spouse to argue about how much the airline miles are worth.
Airline miles may not be transferable
Even if you can determine the value of your airline miles or rewards points, you may have a hard time transferring ownership of them. After all, many rewards programs explicitly prohibit individuals from selling, designating or gifting accrued points.
Airline miles may expire
Accrued airline miles and rewards points often have a use-by or expiration date. If you plan to bargain for ownership of your points, you should keep a close eye on these dates.
Expired airline miles do not do you or your spouse much good. Consequently, if your miles or rewards points expire before your divorce concludes, you may need to take them completely off the negotiation table.