Splitting Frequent Flier Miles During Divorce

No divorce is straightforward, just as no reason for divorce is. The idea that a person would seek a divorce because his or her spouse works too much isnt uncommon, but the idea that a person seeks a divorce because his or her spouse is traveling for work is less discussed. According to Forbes Magazine, “business travel should probably come with a warning label.” Traveling excessively for business can wreak havoc “on those who are not well equipped for it, including broken marriages.” A survey independently conducted by Forbes cites that 91 percent of Americans “believe that too much time away from home due to work has consequences, including 75 percent citing increased stress levels and a surprising 70 percent who say it can result in a failed marriage or relationship.”

Traveling for business does, however, lead to an increase in frequent flier miles, which may be great for some families who use them for vacations or couples who use them for weekend getaways. But when the marriage is over, what happens to those frequent flier miles? According to Executive Travel Magazine, “dividing up miles and points at the end of marriage isnt straightforward, partially because loyalty currency isnt identical to cash currency.” Points, like reward bonuses on other types of credit cards, don't a have fixed values, “and the programs frequently include a clause in their terms and conditions stating that the programs themselves, not the members, own the currency.” Nonetheless, if these miles or points are earned while the couple is married, they count as marital property that has to be divided equally during a divorce—even if one spouse who was traveling excessively for work was the primary earner.

According to the Huffington Post, if there's no cash value to frequent filer points, the best solution “is to contact the airline and have them divide the points into two separate accounts.” Each spouse can then take them and decide what to do with them independently. The only catch with this approach is that some airlines may charge a fee to do this. Others may forbid it, in which case one spouse would be responsible for booking the other's flights, hotels, etc. This would need to be something set out in divorce court.

If you or someone you know is considering divorce, figuring out small details like this can be overwhelming. Don't go through it alone. Contact a dedicated Illinois divorce attorney today.

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