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As the FIFA scandal continues to unfold, we’re learning more and more about Chuck Blazer, an executive committee member of soccer’s world governing body. In case you’ve been living under a rock the last couple of days, here’s the skinny: According to the New York Times, “Earlier Wednesday, the federal authorities announced that Mr. Blazer, 70, had pleaded guilty to a 10-count charge that included racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering and income tax evasion as part of a wide-ranging investigation into rampant corruption in international soccer.” Yikes.
In addition to taking bribes and kickbacks and sometimes carrying a parrot on his shoulder (sadly, an non-indictable offense), it has been reported that $26 million of CONCACAF expenses were charged to Blazer’s personal American Express account from 1990 to 2011. (CONCACAF governs soccer in the North American, Central American and Caribbean region.)
As longtime TPG readers know, $26 million on an Amex card translates to a ton of points — 26 million, to be exact (we’re talking more than 1,000 Amex Premier Rewards Gold sign-up bonuses). So, let’s see exactly what you could buy with that many points in the bank.
- 688 nights in a Specialty Select room at the St. Regis in Bali (37,750 points per night)
- 452 one-way flights between Frankfurt and JFK in Singapore Airlines Suites (57,500 miles and $240 in taxes and fees)
- 866 round-trip flights between the East Coast and Hawaii (30,000 Membership Rewards points and $5.60)
- 2,888 short-haul economy round-trips on British Airways (after transferring his points, at $350 a pop that would be over $1M in value … and if he was able to get in on the 40% transfer bonus on BA, he could have gotten 4,044 round-trip short-haul flights — which is round-trip NY to Montreal every day for 11 years!)
- 208 first-class round-trip awards from North America to Western Europe (after transferring 26 million points to Aeroplan; at $9k a pop that’s $1.87 million in value)
- 21,666 AMC movie tickets (using an American Express Gift card; 1,200 points per ticket)
- 1,529 Kindles (after linking your Amazon and Membership Rewards accounts, you can use points to pay for your purchases at 0.7 cents per point for $182k)
- $260,000 worth of Uber rides (you can redeem points for Uber rides at a value of 1 cent apiece — although Blazer lived and worked in Trump Tower during his CONCACAF reign, so it wouldn’t really come in handy)
- 260 Lexicon Dual-Caster suitcases from Shop with Amex (99,998 points each — to store all the cash he didn’t claim on his taxes)
Something tells us that this guy probably went for first-class redemptions, though I also wouldn’t be surprised to hear that he redeemed all his points for statement credits instead.
OK, TPG peeps – what would YOU do with Blazer’s 26 million Amex points? With some great bonus categories and an annual fee that’s waived for the first year, the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card has a lot going for it. If you don’t have PRG, now’s as good a time as any to add it to your wallet, as Amex added some great new benefits several months back.
With some great bonus categories and an annual fee that’s waived for the first year, the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card has a lot going for it. If you don’t have PRG, now’s as good a time as any to add it to your wallet, as Amex added some great new benefits several months back.