CTV News reported today (Monday November 23rd) that Chinese billionaire Liu Yiqian was the winning bidder for Amedeo Modigliani’s painting “Reclining Nude” at a Christie’s auction this month. He paid $170.4 million. And wait for it, the report stated that “when the sale closes he’ll be putting it on his American Express card.” So “obviously”, buying something that cost $170.4 million on your credit card will get you 170 millions reward points. (More how how Liu plan to use his 170 million points later.)
Art auction purchases and Credit card spending limit
Apparently, Liu had used his AmEx in the past when he won art auctions. According to the same report, he bought a $36 million Ming Dynasty tea cup on his AmEx last year. So his last $36 million purchase was approved, why not $170.4 million?
Readers may ask: What kind of spending limit does Liu have to make auction house purchase of collectible art items that worth $36 million or $170.4 million on his credit card?! Well, like many AmEx cards, Liu’s AmEx card had “no limit”. Unfortunately (or luckily), for most normal people, that “no limit” AmEx will quickly hit a wall if one try to put a million dollar super fancy car purchase on one’s credit card. Liu has a special AmEx known as the Centurion Card, also known as the AmEx “black card”. The Centurion is an “invitation-only card that is given only to AmEx’s biggest spending clients. The card has no official credit limit — and it earns points, just like most of the cards non-billionaires carry around.“
So with 170 million reward points, Liu and his whole family can now, more than likely, fly free in first class on commercial airlines that take points anywhere in the world, for the rest of his life. Of course, one does question how often will billionaires like Liu fly commercial instead of the more exclusive private jets.
One interesting point the reporter pointed out in the article is that Lui probably didn’t use his AmEx for the points as “China allows its citizens to transfer no more than $50,000 out of the country in any year, and using his card could help him get around this limit because he’s just paying back American Express or the bank in China who issues his card.”
Even rich Chinese billionaires have their limit!