As a business professional, you travel frequently to conferences, meetings, training opportunities, networking events and other functions. You also love to get away to a tropical location during Michigan’s notoriously cold winters. As such, you have likely acquired a significant number of airline miles. These, of course, are valuable to you, as they give you travel perks and other benefits.
Michigan is an equitable distribution state. This means divorcing spouses receive an equitable share of marital wealth, while typically keeping separate property. If you acquired your airline miles during your marriage, there is a good chance they are part of your marital estate. As such, your spouse may want an equitable share of your rewards points.
Valuing airline miles may be difficult
In the lead-up to a divorce, spouses often attempt to value marital assets. This makes sense, as dividing wealth requires knowing how much it is worth. Valuing airline miles, though, presents some unique challenges. In fact, many airlines specifically state that their rewards points have no cash value. As a result, you may have to estimate the worth of your airline miles by comparing perks to the expense of travel or upgrades.
You have some options
Like with other marital assets, you have some options for dividing airline miles equitably. First, you may be able to buy out your spouse’s ownership interest. You may also be able to hand over your miles in exchange for cash or other assets. If you want to transfer some miles, though, you must read the program’s rules. Regrettably, many programs expressly prohibit transferring airline miles.
While you may have realized you need to split the house, cars, cash and other property with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, you may not have given much thought to your airline miles. Nonetheless, if your miles are marital property, you likely have to deal with them in your divorce. By understanding your options, you can likely come up with an acceptable solution.