This week I was interviewed by an associate editor from InsideFlyer magazine for an article about dividing frequent flyer miles and hotel points in a divorce. As many of you know I am a collaborative divorce lawyer. I help guide divorcing couples to reach peaceful, practical and cost-conscious solutions without going to court. The focus is on my clients’ goals, interests and concerns for their families.
Frequent flyer miles and hotel points earned during the marriage are marital assets to be included when dividing marital property in a divorce in Pennsylvania. There are three steps to divide assets in a divorce:
To identify frequent flyer miles and hotel points the balances in each of the airline frequent mile accounts and hotel frequent guest program need to be determined at certain dates depending on the case. Valuing these assets is more difficult. An expert on these programs could be brought in to give their opinion on the value of the miles and points. But as many of us know the value of frequent flyer miles and hotel points depends on how you use them. The value of miles is very different if they are to be used for a family vacation in coach to Orlando versus a trip to Asia on Cathay Pacific first class.
As a collaborative divorce attorney it is important to find out how this particular family plans to use the points and miles before helping them find solutions to divide them. Is only one spouse planning to travel in the next several years? Does one parent plan to take the children across the country to visit family twice a year? There are so many possibilities especially when looking at other assets of the marriage. What other asset such as cash, stock, retirement funds, etc. is one spouse willing to give to the other to keep the frequent flyer miles and hotel points earned while being a road warrior during the marriage? Most important is working together to minimize conflict and help my clients move forward with their lives.
In the interview for InsideFlyer magazine I gave several examples of cases of mine involving the division of frequent fyler miles and hotel points. The article is expected to be published in the June 2012 edition of the magazine. Since 1986, InsideFlyer magazine has been required reading for frequent flyers. Each month, thousands of subscribers read this magazine for the latest news and advice concerning their favorite frequent travel programs.