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What happens to airline miles during a divorce?

Nowadays, virtually every airline, hotel chain and car rental service has a loyalty program. If you enroll in the right programs, you may save a considerable amount on travel costs. Of course, if your rewards points are marital assets, you must think about what happens to them during your divorce. 

In Illinois, divorcing spouses typically divide marital wealth equitably. This approach means that you can likely keep separate property while receiving a fair share of what you and your spouse jointly own. Consequently, if you acquired your airline miles during your marriage, you may have to divide them equitably. 

Valuation 

Many travelers take pride in their accumulated airline miles. After all, not only do miles have a tangible benefit, but they represent hours of surviving the not-so-friendly skies. If you want to keep your points, you must know how much they are worth so that you can give up other assets of equal value. Unfortunately, though, many rewards programs assign no cash value to their perks. As such, you may have to use the value of potential rewards, such as free flights, to determine the value of your points. 

Division 

If you do not mind sharing ownership of your airline miles with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, you may be able to divide them equitably. Still, you must comply with the reward program's terms and conditions. While some programs prohibit transferring benefits altogether, others charge a steep fee for doing so. Therefore, even if you want to hand over some or all of your rewards points, you may be stuck with them. 

Whether you keep your miles, split them with your partner or give them away completely, dealing with accumulated points is apt to become necessary when finalizing the end of your marriage. Before investigating what may happen to your airline miles or other rewards points after your divorce, however, you must understand whether they are separate or marital property. By understanding all available options, you can likely better advocate for your personal interests.

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