If you and your spouse travel frequently, you have probably accumulated a significant number of hotel points. You may also have thousands of airline miles. While you may want to focus on your home, investment accounts and other major marital assets during your divorce, your reward points may have a significant value to you.
In Connecticut, judges divide marital property based on what is fair. Splitting up airline miles or rewards points, though, presents unique challenges. So, who gets the reward points after a divorce? The answer probably depends on a few factors.
What do program rules say?
Corporations pay lawyers to write the rules and restrictions that govern rewards programs. While you probably have better things to do than read through pages of legalese, the rules of your reward programs may address what happens to points after a divorce. For example, your favorite hotel may prohibit transferring points in a divorce settlement.
Is there a cash value?
Some reward points have a cash value. If you are fortunate enough to belong to a program that assigns a monetary value to reward points, you can use the valuation to offset other assets. Of course, many programs explicitly state there is no cash equivalency for reward points. If your program does not tell you how much points are worth, you may have to do some research to come up with a realistic valuation.
Can the program divide points?
Another strategy for receiving your fair share of reward points is seeing if the program can divide them between two participants. If so, you may be able to move half the points into your account. You can probably expect the hotel or airline to charge a service fee for rearranging points, though. If that happens, you should come up with a fair way to split fees equally.
Your hotel and airline points may be worth a substantial amount to you. Fortunately, you may not have to lose the points you accrued during your marriage. By understanding your options for splitting points, you can better negotiate with your soon-to-be ex-spouse.