Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Discontinued Programs/Partners > United Mileage Plus (Pre-Merger)
Reload this Page >

Does UA allow miles from one account to be divided up 50/50 under divorce settlement?

Does UA allow miles from one account to be divided up 50/50 under divorce settlement?

 
Old Jan 7, 06, 6:45 pm
  #31  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: DEN
Programs: UA, DL
Posts: 285
This might sound like a dumb question, but how did you earn miles for two people in one MP Account? Is there a certain way to do that? I have been under the impression that you can only earn miles on your own MP Account.
UA9861 is offline  
Old Jan 7, 06, 7:52 pm
  #32  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: SNA
Programs: UA Million Mile Nobody, Marriott Platinum Elite, SPG Gold
Posts: 25,229
Originally Posted by UA9861
This might sound like a dumb question, but how did you earn miles for two people in one MP Account? Is there a certain way to do that? I have been under the impression that you can only earn miles on your own MP Account.
I don't think it is a "joint" account. But in community property states everything is up for grabs, regardless of whose name it is in. So if one has earned lots of miles, they are considered (by the crap lawyers anyway) as joint property.
flyinbob is offline  
Old Jan 7, 06, 8:16 pm
  #33  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: NYC
Programs: BAEC Silver, AA LTP 2MM
Posts: 3,359
Originally Posted by flyinbob
I don't think it is a "joint" account. But in community property states everything is up for grabs, regardless of whose name it is in. So if one has earned lots of miles, they are considered (by the crap lawyers anyway) as joint property.
Community property states recognize everything of value acquired by either or both parties after the date of marriage as "communal," with a presumption that it's to be divided equally upon divorce (certain things such as individual inheritances excepted). It's a matter of state laws, not "crap lawyers"' judgment.

Last edited by UAL_Rulez; Jan 7, 06 at 8:19 pm
UAL_Rulez is offline  
Old Jan 7, 06, 8:51 pm
  #34  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: DEN
Programs: UA, DL
Posts: 285
Ah, thanks for the info, it puts me at ease knowing that there was no possible chance of having a joint account when our whole family signed up for MP. Now, now regrets =D

Hmm, as UAL_Rulez said, couldnt this be counted as one of the individual earned assets? =\
UA9861 is offline  
Old Jan 7, 06, 11:51 pm
  #35  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Programs: united airlines
Posts: 4,923
Originally Posted by UA9861
Ah, thanks for the info, it puts me at ease knowing that there was no possible chance of having a joint account when our whole family signed up for MP. Now, now regrets =D

Hmm, as UAL_Rulez said, couldnt this be counted as one of the individual earned assets? =\
Most frequent flyer miles are not BIS acquired ones, but rather obtained by other means, e.g., charges to credit cards. I expect that a substantial portion of the 950,000 miles in the account of the OP's business partner were accumulated through other than flying, and the spouse may have contributed as directly to the total as the partner with the MP account by running up charges on a UA Visa, taking out a mortgage, etc. So maybe not a joint account per se, but a joint account in effect.

I think the blog entry by gleff which SanDiego1K cited is correct - "...miles aren't transferable...unlikely to be successful in actually securing a transfer of miles from one account to another...might be able to secure additional other property in lieu of the miles and points."

I don't agree, though, that valuation of miles "should be valued with relative ease because each program tells you exactly what you can expect to receive if you use a specific number of miles or points. Miles are not freely alienable, so they cannot be sold openly like stocks or bonds, with the price a matter of public record. Miles can be purchased from UA at any time for something less than $.03 per mile, but only in certain increments and not more than 25-30K per year. One can redeem miles according to a fixed schedule, does one value them at the absolute highest value they might ever take on (F on a *Alliance partner on some especially expensive route)? What discount does one apply given the black out dates, inventory limits, and other restrictions that may apply to award tickets but not revenue ones? Cash doesn't expire, but miles and certs may. Would the cost to acquire the miles be relevant, for example if 25K miles were obtained for the payment of $140 to Chase for a Platinum Visa, ought all or some of those 950K miles be valued at $.006 each? How about a discount for the threat that UA miles could become worthless, as Independence Air ones just did? Etc. The parties can agree to the value, or each side (the husband with the miles in his account, the wife who wants the miles or $ for her equitable portion of them) can argue what value should be placed on them and the court will decide it for them.

If both the husband and wife are represented by attorneys and their combined clocks are running at >$500 per hour, how long should they spend contesting the MP+ account matter? It doesn't make economic sense to spend too long at it. But dispassionate economic decision-making may be especially difficult in divorces, and in this one we have what looks like "hoarding" behavior where the miles are concerned.
itsme is offline  
Old Jan 8, 06, 11:12 am
  #36  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 32,155
Originally Posted by KI-NRT
Not sure about heirs, but I do know that UA will transfer MP balances to spouses of the deceased. Had a relative recently pass away. UA sent a form for the wife to fill out. She had to pay a $75 processing fee and had to send a copy of the death certificate. 2 weeks later, the MP balance was transferred to her account.
That's an insult--why the $75?
Loren Pechtel is offline  
Old Jan 8, 06, 11:34 am
  #37  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Programs: united airlines
Posts: 4,923
Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel
That's an insult--why the $75?
US imposed a similar charge to transfer miles from the decedent's account to that of the heir, or at least they did a few years ago. It can be viewed as an administrative charge, like the one imposed when one wants to redeposit an award they are not going to use.
itsme is offline  
Old Jan 9, 06, 3:09 am
  #38  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Probably on the phone with you.
Programs: The opinions I express here are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect those of United or Mileage
Posts: 155
(Nobody ask where I've been, it's a long story, and if you *have* to know, you can send me a PM)

I just had to say this.

MP will NOT allow a division of miles in a divorce settlement. "Your" miles are actually "UA"s miles, thereby asking for half of the miles in your spouse's account is like asking for your neighbor's dog in a divorce proceeding. Not gonna happen. And since by the terms of the program, mileage has no actual dollar value, it's either allow your ex to book your award travel until you burn up whatever miles he or she allows you to (and believe me, people have tried and tried to get us to FORCE people to release miles to them...if your ex doesn't want you to fly on those miles, you won't. End of story. No amount of court injunctions, whining, crying, or screaming is going to change that), or give it up.

My ex-husband had written in the divorce decree that he was entitled to 120k miles out of my account, because he figured he'd paid that much on my credit card over the 5 years we'd been married. Do you think he got even one mile from me? Nope. Nothing he can do, either. He's tried several times, but my account has a password on it and since I'm an MP employee, nobody at our offices can so much as look at it without referring it to our Internal Audit department, which is comprised of exactly 2 people, both of whom are quite clear that no miles are to be redeemed from my account without my personal nod. I only allowed the wording in the divorce decree to shut his lawyer up, knowing full well he'd get nothing out of it.

Granted, not everyone has the blessings that I do with regard to my MP account, but you get the picture. It's easy enough to allow the other spouse to feel better by saying you'll allow them to use the miles, but you don't actually have to follow up on it. Dirty? Sure. Mean? Yup. Deserved? You'll have to judge that on your own, but in my case, YES!
MP Goddess is offline  
Old Jan 9, 06, 3:38 am
  #39  
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: London; Bangkok; Las Vegas
Programs: AA ExPlat; UA MM Gold; Marriott Lifetime Titanium
Posts: 8,185
Your ex-husband needs a better lawyer. I agree that the court is not going to be able to force UA to turn the miles over due to the contractual wording of the program. The court, however, can most certainly force you to obtain tickets for your husband using your miles.

What happens if you refuse? His attorneys files an Order to Show Cause and you get to explain to the judge why you ignored his order to allow your husband to use xxx number of miles from your account. It's a contempt proceeding. The court can fine you, throw you in jail, give your husband a whole bunch of marital assets (worth far more than the miles are worth) to punish you. All sorts of good things.

Good thing for you that your ex didn't get a better lawyer.
Always Flyin is offline  
Old Jan 9, 06, 3:57 am
  #40  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Probably on the phone with you.
Programs: The opinions I express here are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect those of United or Mileage
Posts: 155
Originally Posted by Always Flyin
Your ex-husband needs a better lawyer. I agree that the court is not going to be able to force UA to turn the miles over due to the contractual wording of the program. The court, however, can most certainly force you to obtain tickets for your husband using your miles.

What happens if you refuse? His attorneys files an Order to Show Cause and you get to explain to the judge why you ignored his order to allow your husband to use xxx number of miles from your account. It's a contempt proceeding. The court can fine you, throw you in jail, give your husband a whole bunch of marital assets (worth far more than the miles are worth) to punish you. All sorts of good things.

Good thing for you that your ex didn't get a better lawyer.
Nope. Again, the miles were never my (or his) property and thereby he was not entitled to any of them. The judge in the case recognized that when he was brought the order to show cause. His lawyer was great, don't get me wrong, but he had no legal standing, since the miles are *technically* the property of UA.
MP Goddess is offline  
Old Jan 9, 06, 12:33 pm
  #41  
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: London; Bangkok; Las Vegas
Programs: AA ExPlat; UA MM Gold; Marriott Lifetime Titanium
Posts: 8,185
There is always a few idiot judges out there. That's what appellate courts are for.

The miles may not be yours under the rules of the program, but you obviously have the use of them. The judge can order you to let your husband use his share of them.

This is not an exactly novel issue in family law.

Originally Posted by MP Goddess
Nope. Again, the miles were never my (or his) property and thereby he was not entitled to any of them. The judge in the case recognized that when he was brought the order to show cause. His lawyer was great, don't get me wrong, but he had no legal standing, since the miles are *technically* the property of UA.
Always Flyin is offline  
Old Jan 9, 06, 12:43 pm
  #42  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Probably on the phone with you.
Programs: The opinions I express here are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect those of United or Mileage
Posts: 155
Originally Posted by Always Flyin
There is always a few idiot judges out there. That's what appellate courts are for.

The miles may not be yours under the rules of the program, but you obviously have the use of them. The judge can order you to let your husband use his share of them.

This is not an exactly novel issue in family law.
Still no. Since the judge can't rule that MP has to allow the ex to use their miles, he threw the otsc out. He doesn't *have* a share of them, and neither do I. UA can take them from me (or anyone) at any time for any reason. I assure you, nobody has been jailed or fined for not allowing their ex-spouse to use their MP miles. No matter how hard the ex-spouse (or their lawyer) may try.
MP Goddess is offline  
Old Jan 9, 06, 1:38 pm
  #43  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Programs: united airlines
Posts: 4,923
Thanks MP Goddess for sharing your personal knowledge and experience of these matters. Hard to imagine that anyone would have more than you, given the professional and personal ways you come at this, that is both from the perspective of an employee who works with the MP+ program and has has seen this play out with others, and from that of an MP+ account holder who has herself contested in a "non-amiable" way the issue with an ex-spouse.

I agree that a judge should not be able to make UA transfer miles from MP Goddess's MP+ account that of her ex-, effectively modifying its program and the terms of its contract with its member, MP Goddess, for the benefit of the ex-. And I agree that a judge might seek to compel MP Goddess to allow the ex- use of those miles, especially since it seems that MP Goddess did not challenge the divorce decree's recognition of those miles as part of the marital estate and award of rights in them to the ex-. Do you agree with me that rather than wrestling with this, what should have been done was a $ value should have been given to the miles and those $s should have been what was divided between them avoiding the "specific performance" issue?

Who gets the miles ought not be a big dilemma, at least not nearly as big a dilemma as who gets the kids, or even who gets the beloved family poodle. While the value of miles can be argued (and that is an interesting one for FTers), they are not priceless, invaluable, inestimable, etc. Anyone who thinks they are, ought to rethink their attachment to their MP+ accounts. (Of course, the value of denying an ex- what they want is very understandable, and I do understand and empathize. Courts, though, stay clear of such by whatever means they can, most especially by "monetizing" all that can be expressed in $s.)

I wonder if MP Goddess and ex- ever tried to negotiate a value for those 120K miles. They might have employed the cake-cutting approach - one person cuts the cake, and the other person choses which of the two resulting pieces they will take - with the ex- stating how much the miles should be worth, then MP Goddess saying whether she would keep the miles and pay him what he claimed they were worth, or giving him the miles (or use of the miles) in return for what he offered to pay for them. I suspect, though, she likes better the way it has gone, at least until now, with ex- feeling he was screwed.
itsme is offline  
Old Jan 9, 06, 1:41 pm
  #44  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Programs: united airlines
Posts: 4,923
Thanks MP Goddess for sharing your personal knowledge and experience of these matters. Hard to imagine that anyone would have more than you, given the professional and personal ways you come at this, that is both from the perspective of an employee who works with the MP+ program and has has seen this play out with others, and from that of an MP+ account holder who has herself contested in a "non-amiable" way the issue with an ex-spouse.

Originally Posted by Always Flyin
Your ex-husband needs a better lawyer...
I agree that a judge should not be able to make UA transfer miles from MP Goddess's MP+ account that of her ex-, effectively modifying its program and the terms of its contract with its member, MP Goddess, for the benefit of the ex-. And I agree that a judge might seek to compel MP Goddess to allow the ex- use of those miles, especially since it seems that MP Goddess did not challenge the divorce decree's recognition of those miles as part of the marital estate and award of rights in them to the ex-. Do you agree with me that rather than wrestling with this, what should have been done was a $ value should have been given to the miles and those $s should have been what was divided between them avoiding the "specific performance" issue?

Who gets the miles ought not be a big dilemma, at least not nearly as big a dilemma as who gets the kids, or even who gets the beloved family poodle. While the value of miles can be argued (and that is an interesting one for FTers), they are not priceless, invaluable, inestimable, etc. Anyone who thinks they are, ought to rethink their attachment to their MP+ accounts. (Of course, the value of denying an ex- what they want is very understandable, and I do understand and empathize. Courts, though, stay clear of such by whatever means they can, most especially by "monetizing" all that can be expressed in $s.)

I wonder if MP Goddess and ex- ever tried to negotiate a value for those 120K miles. They might have employed the cake-cutting approach - one person cuts the cake, and the other person choses which of the two resulting pieces they will take - with the ex- stating how much the miles should be worth, then MP Goddess saying whether she would keep the miles and pay him what he claimed they were worth, or giving him the miles (or use of the miles) in return for what he offered to pay for them. I suspect, though, she likes better the way it has gone, at least until now, with ex- feeling he was screwed.
itsme is offline  
Old Jan 9, 06, 1:42 pm
  #45  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Programs: united airlines
Posts: 4,923
Originally Posted by MP Goddess
MP will not allow a division of miles in a divorce settlement...
Thanks MP Goddess for sharing your personal knowledge and experience of these matters. Hard to imagine that anyone would have more than you, given the professional and personal ways you come at this, that is both from the perspective of an employee who works with the MP+ program and has has seen this play out with others, and from that of an MP+ account holder who has herself contested in a "non-amiable" way the issue with an ex-spouse.

Originally Posted by Always Flyin
Your ex-husband needs a better lawyer...
I agree that a judge should not be able to make UA transfer miles from MP Goddess's MP+ account that of her ex-, effectively modifying its program and the terms of its contract with its member, MP Goddess, for the benefit of the ex-. And I agree that a judge might seek to compel MP Goddess to allow the ex- use of those miles, especially since it seems that MP Goddess did not challenge the divorce decree's recognition of those miles as part of the marital estate and award of rights in them to the ex-. Do you agree with me that rather than wrestling with this, what should have been done was a $ value should have been given to the miles and those $s should have been what was divided between them avoiding the "specific performance" issue?

Who gets the miles ought not be a big dilemma, at least not nearly as big a dilemma as who gets the kids, or even who gets the beloved family poodle. While the value of miles can be argued (and that is an interesting one for FTers), they are not priceless, invaluable, inestimable, etc. Anyone who thinks they are, ought to rethink their attachment to their MP+ accounts. (Of course, the value of denying an ex- what they want is very understandable, and I do understand and empathize. Courts, though, stay clear of such by whatever means they can, most especially by "monetizing" all that can be expressed in $s.)

I wonder if MP Goddess and ex- ever tried to negotiate a value for those 120K miles. They might have employed the cake-cutting approach - one person cuts the cake, and the other person choses which of the two resulting pieces they will take - with the ex- stating how much the miles should be worth, then MP Goddess saying whether she would keep the miles and pay him what he claimed they were worth, or giving him the miles (or use of the miles) in return for what he offered to pay for them. I suspect, though, she likes better the way it has gone, at least until now, with ex- feeling he was screwed.
itsme is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: