In just a couple of minutes, one art collector could have made more credit card rewards than most people will in a lifetime.
Billionaire artwork collector Liu Yiqian paid $170.4 million (one of the greatest prices ever paid at an auction) for Amedeo Modigliani’s “Nu Couche” on Monday.
Pros state it is not impossible to create a huge purchase in this way on a card. Often, you’ll want to get pre-cleared by the card issuer before doing so, says Ben Woolsey, the president of CreditCardForum.com, and needless to say , the retailer would have to be willing to accept that kind of payment for this type of big purchase. But “it is possible in some instances with particular ultra-high-net worth people,” says Woolsey.
As Yiqian had before if he did use the same credit card for this painting, the points he could have earned would be staggering. Sean McQuay, a credit card analyst says an American Express Centurion cardholder (which Yiqian reportedly is) earns one point per dollar spent as well as the points are worth about one cent apiece. This means that when he purchased a $170.4 million painting, he’d be looking at rewards worth more than $1.7 million, Woolsey says.
He could get a variety of things for those rewards, including $1.7 million in gift cards or statement credits.
But because of better points redemption rates, it could be an even better stake to trade the in for flights and resorts. He could redeem those points for more than 1,000 round trip first class plane tickets to New York from Beijing, says Woolsey.
The American Express Centurion card, targeted to high net-worth consumers, has a $7,500 initiation fee and a $2,500 annual membership fee. American Express has not yet responded to our request for comment on Centurion rewards.