A Chinese billionaire has ensured that he and his family can travel free in first class for the rest of his life – by buying a valuable painting and putting it on his American Express card.
Liu Yiqian was the winning bidder at a Christie’s art auction this month, buying Amedeo Modigliani’s Reclining Nude. Liu’s bid of USD 170.4 million (AUD 236.6 million) was accepted and US reports say that when the sale closes he’ll most likely put it on his American Express card.
Liu often uses his Amex card, such as when he bought a Ming Dynasty teacup for USD 36 million last year.
Liu holds an Amex Centurion ‘black card,’, an invitation-only special issued to the company’s top-spending clients. There is no credit limit – and the card earns points.
Liu will earn 170,400,000 Membership Reward points for his painting purchase, which doesn’t include tax or the fees Christie’s charges, USA Today reported.
Liu and his wife, in an interview with The New York Times, said they plan to use the points to allow their family to travel for the rest of their lives.
Travel rewards experts say that should be no problem. If Liu converted his points to the Singapore Airlines program, for instance, he could fly between the US and Europe 3000 times in a first class suite.
Of course, he could simply pay for that – he’s a billionaire. But it’s nice to get it free.
Written by Peter Needham