During a marriage, spouses typically acquire assets and debts, whether it be a home purchase, vehicle, or credit card debt. When spouses separate in North Carolina, they must agree on a separation of their assets, debts, and property; otherwise it will be distributed by a judge through a process known as equitable distribution.
While property has generally been easy to define for items such as homes, vehicles, and bank accounts, there are other, newer forms of property that must be considered when dividing a couple’s marital estate. One common question we receive from clients when they separate from their spouse is, “Who gets the credit card points?” Under North Carolina law, credit card points and other similar loyalty points such as hotel and airline points are indeed considered assets and thus may be divided as part of equitable distribution.
When it comes to dividing points amongst spouses, there are a couple of available options. The first option is to actually divide or transfer points when possible. For example, if a hotel loyalty program allows the transfer of points from one spouse to another, then the spouses may decide to split points amongst themselves. However, one pitfall to this approach is that some points programs require transfer fees that can make transferring points a less than prudent financial option. Further, some points programs won’t even allow point transfers at all.
Another option for spouses is to distribute other assets or debts to compensate for the points awarded to one spouse. For example, spouses may decide that one spouse will receive credit card points for one of their credit cards, whereas the other might receive the airline points available through another credit card or airline loyalty program. Spouses may also decide to distribute other types of property to compensate for one spouse receiving all of their loyalty or credit card points. This is sometimes achievable when the actual dollar value of credit card or loyalty points is readily determinable.
If you need assistance with equitable distribution or any other issues you are facing in your divorce, please contact us at (704) 810-1400, or submit an online request to schedule your consultation with one of our attorneys.