Marriott Points and Divorce

 
Old Jun 30, 09, 7:45 am
  #1  
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Marriott Points and Divorce

Does anyone know how a large number of Marriott points is typically settled in divorce proceedings. I'm in the state of CO, a community property state, with 1.2 Million points. --- Edited--not community property, but equitable distribution.

I found this in the Terms and Conditions:

http://www.marriott.com/rewards/terms/default.mi


Accrued points and miles do not constitute property of the member. Points accrued by a Marriott Rewards member are for the member's benefit only and may not be transferred to anyone. Points are transferable to a legal spouse or partner only in the case of documented death of the member. Points are not transferable to another person for any other reason, including divorce or inheritance.


This implies that the points are not a tangible asset, but simply a benefit.

Do the courts uphold this and can these points simply be excluded from the division of marital property?

Is this the same with United miles or other hotel or airline programs?

Last edited by BigYellowDog; Aug 4, 09 at 6:53 pm
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Old Jun 30, 09, 8:30 am
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Sorry mate...

Are those points all from your stays? Only way I could see maybe getting some split is if some of the points were from her stays.
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Old Jun 30, 09, 8:38 am
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Couldn't the court come up with a cash value and make you pay half of it out?
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Old Jun 30, 09, 9:29 am
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Aren't airline miles the property of the airline (hence why you can't sell them)

but I thought airline miles were sometimes reallocated in divorces?

to further complicate matters, couldn't one say (if true) that they were all or (X%) earned on the company dime and are hence the companies points/miles?
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Old Jun 30, 09, 9:57 am
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The court required my friend and his wife to split his Starwood points (he had nearly 1,000,000 of them!!!!!! - which is a hellofalot of starwood points). His main problem - his had told his wife for years how much they were worth!
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Old Jun 30, 09, 12:57 pm
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Originally Posted by crazygrow View Post
The court required my friend and his wife to split his Starwood points (he had nearly 1,000,000 of them!!!!!! - which is a hellofalot of starwood points). His main problem - his had told his wife for years how much they were worth!
mental note

keep travel points mum..

if you redeem them for family vacation; just say wow that wiped me out
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Old Jun 30, 09, 2:57 pm
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Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
mental note

keep travel points mum..

if you redeem them for family vacation; just say wow that wiped me out
Or like some airlines: "There's just nothing available for your requested dates".
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Old Jun 30, 09, 3:16 pm
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It is times like these when the guy who brags about scoring those $500/night rooms at Vail on award stays should keep mum!

A better assessment of the points value would be toward the merchandaise. There is a pretty even (but low) relationship between the points and value.

If the T/C states that the points are not property and cannot be transferred, how can the courts decree otherwise?
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Old Jun 30, 09, 3:46 pm
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Originally Posted by keeton View Post
It is times like these when the guy who brags about scoring those $500/night rooms at Vail on award stays should keep mum!
I don't have to worry about divorce since I can't get married.
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Old Jun 30, 09, 4:28 pm
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The lawyer I just saw, is not sure. The listserve she's a member has this debate all the time apparently and she'll need to research it more..

Someone mentioned merchandise, which might be an option although the redemption value is horrid. Since I will need a new place to stay shortly, maybe I should just get a Marriott Bed.

Preserving these without having to give something up, is the unlikely goal.

I've got over 500,000 UAL miles as well.

TIC - Maybe I should use them to start an affair and travel to a few exotic places. .
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Old Jun 30, 09, 4:32 pm
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Argentina is nice from what I understand. So is the Appalachian Trail, but there are few places one can use points or miles on the AT.
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Old Jun 30, 09, 4:51 pm
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Originally Posted by crazygrow View Post
The court required my friend and his wife to split his Starwood points (he had nearly 1,000,000 of them!!!!!! - which is a hellofalot of starwood points). His main problem - his had told his wife for years how much they were worth!
Just wondering, what was the mechanism for splitting the points? Did Starwood set up two accounts for the two and they then got equal points? Or did one party have to pay the other a dollar amount based on some calculated value. One thing that the 'values per point' posted on FlyerTalk don't take into account is that one might not stay at a hotel at all (or a much cheaper one) when using hotel points for a nice hotel. Yeah so you can find a hotel where you might get 2-3 cents a point if you compare the rate the hotel is charging to what it costs in points. But it doesn't cost a hotel nearly that much to provide a room to a customer, and a customer probably wouldn't pay that price out of pocket and stay a such a nice hotel if not for having the points.

I would say someone would be somewhat overpaying to, for instance, pay out even one cent per point to keep from splitting up the reward points. Cash is good anywhere. Marriott points are not. And if Marriott has a corporate policy that points cannot be transferred, how else can these be divided?
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Old Jun 30, 09, 5:04 pm
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Email to Attorney, we'll see if she agrees.

Here are the terms and conditions for Marriott Points.

http://www.marriott.com/rewards/term....mi#conditions



If you look at point 3 under conditions for enrollment, is states:

Accrued points and miles do not constitute property of the member. Points accrued by a Marriott Rewards member are for the member's benefit only and may not be transferred to anyone. Points are transferable to a legal spouse or partner only in the case of documented death of the member. Points are not transferable to another person for any other reason, including divorce or inheritance.

If I read that correctly, I am not the owner of the points and therefore have no ability to negotiate the points in a divorce proceeding. In other words, it should be handled just like my Lifetime Gold Status with Marriott, where I get certain perks and discounts for being a Lifetime Gold Member. This can't be negotiated in a divorce proceeding as a status can't be transfered or used by an ex-partner and there are no tangible assets, but there are still perks for the status. I believe Marriott's terms indicate the points are simply a benefit to the member but owned by Marriott and have no direct value to the member as they are not the member's assets. Marriott has the right revalue the benefit or terminate the program at anytime, so even placing a value on them is only at the whim of Marriott deciding to keep the program as it stands today.


Similar wording is used for United Mileage Plus miles per their terms and conditions:

http://www.united.com/page/article/0,6722,1155,00.html


Accrued mileage and certificates do not constitute property of the member. Neither accrued mileage nor certificates are transferable (i) upon death, (ii) as part of a domestic relations matter, or (iii) otherwise by operation of law.



If my spouse or her attorney bring the points into negotiations, I think we can argue that these points are not to be part of the divorce proceedings as they are benefits allowed by Marriott and UAL and not assets owned by me.
I don't plan on listing them as part of our material asset, based on these statements.
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Old Jun 30, 09, 5:21 pm
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Time to find a new partner and celebrate by going first class and staying at a Cat 8 hotel and burn the miles/points.
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Old Jun 30, 09, 5:58 pm
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Hmmm. I'm in charge of the points around here, don't thiunk my husband the owner of said points even knows the password. Guess I better keep it that way.
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