The same Chinese man who bought a ceramic cup at auction last year and paid with his American Express card earning 422 million points is back at it again.
Via both Alan H. and Mark P., billionaire art collector and founder of the Long Museum in China Liu Yiqian paid $170.4 million for Amedeo Modigliani’s “Nu Couche” at auction on Monday.
The man paid with his American Express card. Coverage of the ceramic cup auction suggested that he uses a Hong Kong-based card than earns 1.5 points per Hong Kong dollar spent.
- Sadly, he’s spending way more than the cap for earning 2 points per Hong Kong dollar on a Membership Rewards Turbo-earning card. That program caps double points to the first HKG$160,000 in spend, but only earns 1 point per dollar thereafter.
US$170.4 million is slightly more than HKG$1.32 billion… meaning he would have earned ~ 1,980,951,120 Membership Rewards points for the purchase at 1.5 points per Hong Kong dollar.
Ignore mainstream media coverage on his mileage haul, what I’ve seen so far fails to account for his earning in a non-US Membership Rewards program.
And before you get excited by the concept of billions of points (my own cumulative balances are merely in the 8 figures), Hong Kong Membership Rewards points generally convert at a rate of 15 points per mile. So he only has enough points for 132 million frequent flyer miles.
Transfer partners include:
- Cathay Pacific AsiaMiles
- Singapore Airlines Krisflyer
- Emirates Skywards
- British Airways Executive Club
- China Airlines Dynasty Flyer
- Malaysia Airlines Enrich
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Finnair Plus
That’s impressive of course. And roughly ties the number one Membership Rewards account balance. But believe it or not, Mr. Yiqian’s haul doesn’t blow the record out of the water.
And unless he’s going to turn around and sell the painting (at a price covering the auction fees no less!), it’s not a very efficient means of earning the points.