Money Analysed

Credit Card Rewards in Divorce: How to Divide Them Equitably

Divorce can be a challenging process, especially when it comes to dividing assets incurred during the marriage. One often-overlooked type of property that can have considerable value is credit card rewards.

Over the years, credit card companies have lured consumers with incentives, such as cashback, points, and miles, to retain their loyalty. However, when couples separate, credit card rewards become a contentious issue.

In this article, we will cover how one should consider credit card rewards in divorce and how to determine their value in equitable distribution.

Recognition of Credit Card Rewards as Marital Property

Credit card rewards may not immediately come to mind when defining marital property, but they can be deemed as such if accumulated during the marriage and on-joint accounts. In the case of divorce, any asset acquired during the marriage is subject to equitable distribution, which includes credit card rewards.

Generally, credit card companies reward points based on purchases made with the card. When couples have joint credit card accounts, they both have equal rights to the accumulated rewards.

In the case of separate credit card accounts, rewards will be distributed based on who owns the card and who made the purchases.

Factors to Consider in Splitting Credit Card Rewards

The division of credit card rewards depends heavily on the terms of the divorce. Couples can agree to split the rewards, or one spouse can receive them as a settlement agreement.

Typically, the value of the rewards will be calculated based on the point or cash value at the time of distribution. Here are some factors to consider when splitting credit card rewards:

1.

Joint Account: If the credit card account is joint, then both spouses are entitled to the rewards. 2.

Value Calculation: The value of the rewards should be calculated based on the point or cash value at the time of divorce. 3.

Credit Card Debt: The division of credit card rewards should take into account the outstanding credit card debt from purchases that contributed to the accumulation of the rewards. 4.

Income Disparity: If one spouse has a higher income, dividing the rewards equally may not be fair. Instead, the rewards can be divided proportionally to each spouse’s contribution to the purchase total.

Determining the Value of Credit Card Rewards

Credit card rewards have different types and values depending on the promotion and card used. Here are some types of credit card rewards:

1.

Cashback: This type of reward provides a percentage of the purchase amount back in cash. 2.

Points: By making purchases, the cardholder earns points that they can redeem for travel, hotel stays, merchandise, among others. 3.

Miles: Miles rewards are similar to points, but they are usually associated with travel-based credit cards and can be redeemed for flights or travel packages. To determine the value of credit card rewards, you should consider the monetary value approach.

The method consists of converting the rewards into cash or an asset and then calculating the proportionate distribution of each spouse. For example, suppose the accumulated points for a travel rewards card are worth $1,000.

In that case, the proportionate amount can be calculated based on the cardholder’s equity and proportionally distributed in the equitable distribution agreement.

Conclusion

Overall, credit card rewards can be a valuable asset in a divorce settlement. Couples should consider credit card rewards as marital property and negotiate with a clear understanding of how the rewards will be distributed.

The value of the rewards can be calculated using a monetary value approach. By considering these factors, married couples can come up with a fair and equitable distribution of credit card rewards during the divorce process.

Dividing Credit Card Rewards in Divorce: Additional Considerations

Divorce often necessitates splitting assets, including those that may not seem like actual assets at first glance, such as credit card rewards. When a couple has a joint credit card account that has generated rewards, dividing those rewards can prove to be quite tricky, as it takes some planning and research to ensure an equitable distribution.

Several options dictate how couples can split rewards during a divorce, such as opening separate accounts, transferring rewards to partner brands, or calculating a 50-50 split.

Opening Separate Credit Card Accounts

One straightforward way to divide credit card rewards when getting a divorce is by separating finances and opening separate credit card accounts. If one partner has been the sole account holder of the credit card used to accumulate the rewards, they should open a separate account with the same issuer and the same rewards program.

Then, they can transfer the rewards from the joint account to the new account to begin earning rewards independently. Depending on the rewards program, couples may be allowed to transfer rewards between accounts without any penalty.

However, some credit card issuers may require the redistribution of rewards to be in 1,000-point increments, while others may have a cap on the amount of eligible rewards that can be transferred. Finally, transferring rewards between different rewards programs may incur transfer fees, so be sure to review the terms and conditions of each rewards program before making any transfers.

Partner Transfer Options

Another way to divide credit card rewards during a divorce is by using partner transfer options. If both parties have a joint account with rewards accumulated, they may transfer the points to a partner brand.

For example, couples with Marriott rewards may choose to transfer points to an airline partner, such as Delta or United. Many credit card companies have established transfer partnerships with airlines, hotels, and other travel companies to provide choices for reward redemption.

Transferring points this way can be an excellent option for couples looking for flexibility in reward redemption. However, couples should note that most partner transfers require a minimum transfer amount or a transfer fee.

For example, transferring Credit Card A’s rewards to Airline B may require a fee of $10 and a minimum transfer amount of 1,000 points.

50-50 Split Calculation

A 50-50 split is likely the most common method used to divide credit card rewards during a divorce. To accomplish this, couples combine the rewards accumulated in the joint account and divide them equally, with each person receiving half of the accumulated rewards.

Simple and straightforward, a 50-50 split can be administered by:

1. Applying the rewards as a statement credit to the joint account;

2.

Dividing the accumulated rewards by item and dividing the rewards equally;

3. Splitting the rewards according to loyalty brands when multiple rewards programs are concerned.

The first method is the easiest to execute, while the second requires a little more effort and knowledge of one’s spending habits. The third option is best when divorcees attempt to keep reward balances separate from each other after the divorce.

Conclusion

Divorcing couples who have accrued considerable credit card rewards must carefully consider how to divide them. While it might seem confusing how to distribute a non-physical asset such as credit card rewards, some strategies can make this process more manageable.

By opening separate accounts with the same issuers, taking advantage of partner transfer options, or utilizing a 50-50 split calculation, couples can divide their reward points fairly and efficiently. It is important to note that specific rewards programs may have different requirements, fees, and limitations for transferring rewards or opening separate accounts.

It would be best to carefully assess individual circumstances before determining how to go about splitting credit card rewards in divorce. Dividing credit card rewards during a divorce can be confusing, but there are options available to make the process more manageable.

The article covered several approaches to splitting credit card rewards, including opening separate credit card accounts with the same issuer and program, transferring rewards to partner brands, or utilizing a 50-50 split calculation. It emphasized that couples should carefully review the terms and conditions of each rewards program before deciding on an approach.

Ultimately, dividing credit card rewards in a fair and equitable manner will depend on each couple’s individual circumstances. Whether pursuing a divorce or not, it is essential to be well-informed about financial matters to ensure smoother transitions in the future.

Popular Posts