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What happens to your airline miles when you divorce?

On Behalf of | Jun 8, 2020 | Divorce |

Though Myrtle Beach has plenty to keep anyone busy, you love to get out and explore the country. If your business and pleasure trips have resulted in thousands of airline miles, you are probably looking forward to using them after your divorce concludes.

Upon divorce, South Carolina law contemplates an equitable distribution of marital assets. Therefore, if you cannot reach an agreement with your partner about property division, a judge is likely to give each of you a fair share. If your airline miles are part of the marital estate, your spouse may have a right to some of them.

Marital and separate property

While you likely must share the marital estate with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, you can usually keep anything that belongs exclusively to you. If you earned your airline miles during your marriage, however, they are probably marital assets. This is true even if your account is exclusively in your name. If you accrued your airline miles before walking down the aisle, though, they are probably separate property you do not have to divide.

Airline miles challenges

Dividing airline miles during a divorce can be challenging for a few reasons. First, because many programs do not assign a cash value, determining the value of airline points is often difficult. Additionally, airlines regularly place restrictions on who may use accrued miles. Even if you want to give your partner all or some of your miles, the program’s rules may not allow a transfer.


Because of the hassle with dividing airline miles, you may want to take them off the table. You can decide to negotiate mile ownership with your spouse. Giving up other assets in exchange for your airline miles may be the right approach. Alternatively, you and your partner may decide to keep the miles each of you has earned.

Your airline miles likely have significant value to you. While you are probably thinking more about your house, car and investment accounts, you should also devote some attention to your airline miles when planning your divorce.