Divorces in England and Wales are being delayed by couples rowing over supermarket and airline loyalty points as the recession continues to bite, a leading family law firm said.
Husbands and wives are disputing ownership of Clubcard points and Air Miles in court as economic pressures mean they are increasingly regarded as joint marital assets, said Pannone.
Partner Ed Kitchen said arguments over how to split loyalty points are often ‘deal-breakers’, causing friction between couples who have succeeded in splitting cash, property and pensions without much difficulty.
‘Establishing a fair divorce settlement involves calculating what someone will lose out on as a result of not being married,’ he said.
‘Traditionally, that has meant considering things like pensions or health insurance. Now, though, people realise the value of points accrued through loyalty schemes.
‘When you consider that it can cost several thousand pounds a year to pay for the family holidays and even discounted groceries that these schemes provide, it is perhaps no wonder that separating spouses are demanding either the points themselves or money in lieu of the points as part of divorce settlements which are intended to have a lasting value.’
Pannone said recent statistics have suggested there are more than 30m Nectar or Tesco Clubcard members in the UK while more than 120m people worldwide are thought to be part of frequent flyer programmes operated by leading airlines.
Superdrug has also recently jumped on the bandwagon with customers able to pick up the Beautycard in store.
Cardholders can earn one point for every £1 spent. The card’s unique selling point is that it has a mirror on it and the store hopes it will encourage people to carry carry it in their wallet.
Boots currently has one of the most generous loyalty card schemes with cardholders receiving four points for every pound spent. Each point is worth 1p so if you spend £20 you will earn 80 points, worth 80p.
Tesco Clubcard holders get two points for every £1 and 100 points is worth £1 in reward vouchers.
Sainsbury’s nectar card gives you 2 points for every pound although some retailers offer double points for spending. Points are worth an average of 0.5p.