Airline miles can be tough to divide in a divorce

If you travel frequently for business or pleasure, you have probably accumulated thousands of airline miles. These miles have intrinsic value to you, as you can use them to redeem free flights and other travel perks. You may not realize, though, that your spouse may also have an ownership interest in your airline miles.

In Texas, judges typically divide marital property equally between each spouse during divorce proceedings. If your airline miles are part of the marital estate, you must think about what may happen to them when your marriage comes to an end.

When airline miles are marital property

Marital property is everything you and your spouse jointly own. If you signed up for airline rewards and accumulated miles during your marriage, your miles are probably marital property. This is likely true even if the points account is in your name and not your soon-to-be ex-spouse’s.

On the other hand, if you acquired airline miles before you walked down the aisle, they may be separate property you can keep after your divorce. Similarly, if you designated airline perks as separate property in a pre- or postnuptial agreement, you may not have to divide them when you divorce.

How airline miles are troublesome

Dividing airline miles during a divorce may be easier in theory than in practice. After all, you may be at the mercy of the program’s rules and restrictions. Therefore, before negotiating ownership with your spouse, you should understand your options.

If you want to keep the miles, you likely need to know how much they are worth. Valuing travel perks is not always easy, as many programs assign no or little cash value to their rewards points. Consequently, you may need to estimate the value of your points based on the potential value of the reward, such as a free flight.

While dividing airline miles may be somewhat challenging, you probably do not want to give up a valuable asset. By carefully considering your goals, understanding program restrictions and negotiating with your spouse, you can probably come up with an acceptable solution.

FindLaw Network
Heidi L. Heinrich
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