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Years ago, Liu Yiqian was driving a taxi in Shanghai. Now he’s charging $170,400,000 auction tabs to his American Express Centurion card. The Chinese art collector made similar headlines earlier this year when he swiped his Amex card — 31 separate times — to purchase a $45-million silk tapestry. While it’s unlikely that Yiqian has come anywhere close to redeeming all of the Amex points he earned from that last transaction, he does reportedly redeem points for flights from time to time.
Now I know what you’re thinking — what can you get for 170,400,000 Membership Rewards points? While Yiqian may not have actually pocketed that many from the transaction, since he likely paid with a Chinese version of the card, that would have been his take with a US Centurion or Amex Platinum card.
If he had gotten 170 million points, here are a few possible redemptions:
- 40,000 Virgin America Elevate points and Gold status for 2,130 of his closest friends
- $1,192,745 to spend on Airbnb stays (enough to cover a lifetime at some homes)
- 136,320,000 British Airways Avios (now 250:200 when transferred from Amex)
- 2,969 flights in Singapore A380 Suites between the US and Europe
- 655 12-inch Apple MacBooks (a 0.5-cent-per-point value)
- $1,022,400 in statement credits (at 1 point per 0.6 cents)
So, while that number of miles will buy you a LOT of whatever you’re looking to get, this also serves as a reminder that you can get a lot more from your Amex points when you maximize. 655 Apple MacBooks may sound great, but that transaction values your points at just 0.5 cents each — you’re even better off purchasing the computer from Apple and redeeming for statement credits at 0.6 cents per point (though that’s also a terrible deal). And, of course, if you’re looking to make a very pricey purchase of your own, don’t forget to charge it to your credit card (assuming you have the credit limit to support it).
H/T: Nicholas Stevens
The Platinum Card® from American Express
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