Rags to riches The Chinese billionaire didn’t even know he had earned 422 million reward points after using his American Express credit card to buy a $32 million antique teacup. | Catch My Job


Chinese art collector Liu Yiqian is living proof that being incredibly rich means you don’t have to think twice before stealing a massive, multi-million dollar Amex card. Being a millionaire or billionaire takes such humble actions. You certainly don’t bother with reward points. When the Shanghai-based collector paid US$36 million (HK$281 million) for a rare porcelain “chicken cup” with his American Express Centurion card, little did he know the beneficial side effect of the huge spend – nearly 422 million reward points. The man was delighted to learn how many points he had earned for a palm-sized Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) cup.

Liu Wenchao (left) is the daughter of Liu Yiqian. Via – Screengrab / Youtube

“He didn’t even know. Now you are checking how many points you can get.” Liu’s daughter stated. According to Sotheby’s, the American Express card was swiped 24 times after a fierce seven-minute bidding war that led to the frowned-upon celebratory sip. In my opinion, it is a natural and unpretentious way to achieve hard-won victory, but the cultured Chinese consider it contemptible.

The rare porcelain cup was sold after a fierce auction. Via – Sotheby’s.

“Emperor Qianlong used it, now I’ve used it,” Mr Liu said of the chicken cup, referring to one of the Qing Dynasty’s most famous emperors. “I just wanted to see what it felt like.” Why did Liu Yiqian use his Amex card on an expensive object kept in museums or on the pedestals of private collectors? He used his yuan-denominated credit card because currency restrictions did not allow him to transfer so much money directly from China to Hong Kong. Capital controls limit individuals from moving $50,000 out of the country each year, according to the Economic Times. It’s worth noting that the points are based on the Hong Kong dollar, which was worth $0.1275 during the transaction. With that purchase, Mr. Liu would still have nearly 28 million frequent flyer miles.

The teacup measures only 3.4 x 1.4 inches.

Taxi driver-turned-mega art collector Liu Yiqian Liu bought a $170 million painting, Amedeo Modigliani’s Reclining Nude, with his American Express card. With the purchase based on the one-year payment plan, the family earned two billion points, or 132 million frequent flyer miles. The clan was able to travel back and forth from London to New York 733 times in first class, or in simpler words: free to fly for life! That’s a tempting proposition, even for a man worth $1.4 billion. The billionaire art collector predictably holds the record for most credit card rewards earned and most expensive credit card purchase.

Liu Yiqian

Liu Yiqian, the raw billionaire and favorite of the auction houses –
Liu Yiqian is the chairman of Sunline Group, a Shanghai-based investment company with a net worth of $1.4 billion. He is known among auction houses as the founder of the renowned Long Museum. Despite his wealth and near-infinite art collection (he has no idea how much it’s worth), he derogatorily refers to himself as a tuhao – the Putonghua term for nouveau riche, whose culture is hardly matched by wealth.

Chinese customs officials inspect the cup. Via – Chinadaily

And he proved as much by sipping from the venerable $36 million Ming Dynasty Cup. Slippage aside, billionaire Liu Yiqian’s vast collection of Chinese art suggests more sophisticated taste than it betrays. The Long Museum is a major tourist attraction, displaying more than 200 Chinese works of art, such as oil paintings, ink works, sketches, block prints and sculptures, which have attracted Hollywood A-lister Angelina Jolie.

What makes the Amex Centurion card so unique?
The American Express Centurion Card or “Black Card” is an invitation-only card found in the pockets of the world’s biggest names or greatest poets. This small piece of plastic is a status symbol even bigger than a sports car, which makes a better impression on its own than a human trinket. The Amex card has no official credit limit, which means that purchases are endless, as seen with billionaire art collector Liu Yiqian Liu. Not only the ease of buying ultra-expensive things, but also the points earned by the billionaires of the land, who have acquired impressive deals.

Via – Prada

The Centurion Card comes with a luxury wearable bracelet designed by Prada. The wristband features “Tap to Pay” technology, which allows cardholders to make purchases with a tap instead of swiping the card (unless you want a cashier’s nod of approval). These ultra-stylish bracelets can be engraved at Prada’s Beverly Hills and New York stores. The Black Card also brings benefits to the table, such as a dedicated concierge and free companion flights on international flights. Additionally, trips to high-end brands like Gucci and Saks with the card can earn them a personal shopper.


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