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What happens to airline miles during a divorce?

| Apr 8, 2021 | High Net Worth Divorce |

Whether you travel for work, pleasure or both, you may have accumulated thousands of airline miles during your marriage. You can likely redeem these miles for free flights, flight upgrades, complimentary hotel rooms, rental cars and other perks.

California is a community property jurisdiction, so divorcing couples typically split marital assets evenly. While you may be able to argue your airline miles are separate property, you should probably plan to address them during your divorce. This is especially true if you intend to use your miles on a post-divorce excursion.

How much are airline miles worth?

When preparing for a divorce, it is critical to know how much the marital estate is worth. Determining the value of your home, cars, retirement accounts and other assets is likely to be an early step in the process. When calculating the value of airline miles, though, the process is not always easy.

Many airlines assign either a nominal value to their airline miles or expressly state miles have no cash value. Consequently, to determine how much your airline miles are worth, you may have to calculate the value of the perks they buy. For planning purposes, though, you may want to assume your miles are worth about 1.3 cents each.

Can you transfer airline miles?

Unlike many other marital assets that are simple to split evenly, airline miles are often not transferable. Therefore, it may be impossible to divide the airline miles you and your spouse have accrued. Nevertheless, you may be able to exchange cash or other assets for miles after calculating their worth.

When planning for your divorce, you should list all marital and separate assets. By addressing everything you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse own, including airline miles, you ensure you receive what you deserve.