I am not a big art fan so whenever I hear stories about people spending millions on paintings I feel dumbfounded. However, I am not sure I have ever heard anything quite like this.

According to this National Post story, Chinese billionaire Liu Yiqian paid $170.4 million to ensure he was the winning bidder for Amedeo Modigliani’s “Reclining Nude” at a Christie’s auction this month. But that is far from the most interesting piece of the story. It turns out that Yiqian paid for the painting with his American Express Centurion Card. As such, he stands to earn 170,400,000 American Express Membership Rewards points from a single purchase!

My head is spinning just thinking of what I would do if I had access to even a quarter of those points. And that is not the only big purchase the Chinese billionaire has made recently.

Last year Yiqian spent $36 million for tea cup from the Ming Dynasty, a purchase also made with his American Express Centurion Card. Therefore, Yiqian has earned over 200,000,000 Amex MR points from two purchases alone. Yiqian intends to use the points to allow his family to travel for the rest of their lives. I wonder if they have a favorite award booking service…

What would you do with 200,000,000 Americna Express Membership Rewards points?

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Gary Leff November 24, 2015 - 3:28 pm

It’s not 170mm Amex points. The card earns more than 1 point per HKD not USD. It’s ~ 2 billion Amex points. But those points convert to miles at 15:1.

MaxPoints November 25, 2015 - 7:09 am

@Gary. So in that case, it is closer then to 100,000,000 points for the painting, correct?

KP November 24, 2015 - 11:01 pm

If I had the money to even think spending ‘$170mn on a painting’ and ‘$36mn on a cup’, the miles earned would be irrelevant.



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