What Happens to Credit Card Points in a Divorce?

Quick Answer

Credit card points you earn during your marriage are considered a marital asset and should be divided between spouses in a divorce. If your credit card issuer doesn’t allow you to transfer points, you can offer cash, assets or a redeemed reward instead.

Stressed woman holding a credit card, sitting at her kitchen table in front of her laptop.

Who gets the credit card points in a divorce? While you might think it depends on whose name is on the card, any points earned during the course of your marriage are usually considered marital assets and are split between divorcing spouses.

Like divorce itself, splitting credit card rewards points can be complicated. Understanding who owns joint and individual points, how points may (and may not) be divided, and what points are actually worth can help you arrive at an agreement both of you can live with. Here's what to know about credit card points and divorce.

Who Owns Credit Card Points?

State laws can vary but, in general, credit card points you accumulate during your marriage are considered marital assets owned by both spouses. This is true for both joint and individual accounts, with or without spouses listed as authorized users. In a divorce, marital property is divided between spouses based on your state's laws.

Points You Earn While Single

What if you had a rewards card prior to getting married and earned points on it while you were still single? Those points might qualify as a separate asset you can keep, but check with your family law attorney for specific information about what qualifies as a separate asset in your state.

Learn more >> Who Is Responsible for Credit Card Debt in a Divorce?

Can You Divide Credit Card Points?

Although some programs will allow you to divide up your points by transferring them between accounts, many won't. Some rewards programs charge a fee to transfer points or miles. The best way to find out what your options are is to contact your rewards program directly and ask.

Often, credit card accounts are part of a larger discussion about who's responsible for debts after divorce. You may decide to close joint credit card accounts, remove each other as authorized users and keep your respective individual cards—with rewards points attached. If transferring points to your ex-partner isn't possible (or practical) when you make the split, here are a few alternatives to consider:

  • Offer cash. Assign a cash value to your rewards points and offer your ex half.
  • Trade an asset. Offer a different marital asset worth a similar amount, for example $2,500 in additional home equity in exchange for 250,000 rewards points.
  • Redeem and split. If your card company allows it, redeem travel points for a plane ticket (or other reward) in your ex's name using their share of rewards points. If possible, you can also redeem your ex's half of any cash back rewards and give them the money.

Working with a family law attorney may help. They can suggest ways to account for rewards points—and everything else you have to divide—fairly, even when a literal division of points isn't workable.

How Much Are Credit Card Points Worth?

Credit card rewards points are worth about a penny each in most rewards programs, though the value can vary depending on the card program and your redemption options. To double-check this basic math against your card's rewards program (and make sure it doesn't operate on a completely different system), compare the estimated value of a reward to the points it takes to redeem it. A hotel stay worth $250 should equate to roughly 25,000 points.

If your card pays cash back rewards, calculating your points' value is simple: $5,000 in available cash back rewards are worth $5,000, minus any redemption fees that may apply.

The Bottom Line

Valuing and dividing your credit card rewards points can be difficult when you're trying to split assets and manage your credit during a divorce. But with a little flexibility, it's possible to find an arrangement that works, whether that means literally splitting points between you and your ex or compensating each other with cash or other marital assets to even things out.

While you're splitting up credit card accounts (and their attached rewards), be mindful of your credit. Checking your credit score and report regularly on Experian can help you make sure things run smoothly, with no missed payments or mystery balances that might indicate a glitch in your division of accounts.