Chinese billionaire Liu Yiquian recently purchased a Modigliani nude for a cool $170.4 million. The kicker of the story for me was that he put it on a credit card:
There is another, more personal, benefit to the acquisition: airfare. Ms. Wang confirmed that, as in the past, she and Mr. Liu would be using their American Express card to pay for the Modigliani. That way, with the cardholder’s points they accrue, their whole family — the couple, their four children and two grandchildren — can continue flying for free.
“We are on a one-year payment plan for the painting,” Ms. Wang said. “If we had to pay cash upfront, that would be a little difficult for us.”
She added: “I mean, who has the money for that?”
I wonder what American Express’s fee on that transaction looks like. Given that most Amex cards return 1-2% in rewards, that’s about $1.7 million in rewards points. And perhaps more importantly, I wonder why someone would buy a painting for which they can’t pay in cash. When they happen to be billionaires.
For those of us not charging nine-figure sums to our credit cards, there’s now the happy news that BarclayCard has reinstated the free year of TripIt Pro, in response to
angry tweets customer requests.