Billionaire puts Modigliani nude on Amex – the points haul isn’t bad

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Chinese billionaire Liu Yiqian Liu has put the chasing of Amex Membership Rewards Points into a new league – by buying a $170.4m Modigliani painting with his American Express Centurion card.

american express centurion card

Liu successfully bid for Amedeo Modigliani’s Reclining Nude at a Christie’s auction this month, and pulled out the plastic (sorry, titanium) to pay for it.

The “by invitation only” American Express Centurion card of course has no official credit limit, with the amount you are able to spend on it dependent on your relationship with Amex. Clearly the relationship between Amex and Liu is pretty, pretty good.

That said, you can only presume his relationship with Christie’s took a nosedive when they saw the Amex commission.

In paying for the painting with his Amex, Liu will have accrued 170,400,000 Membership Rewards points. To put it into context, 250 Membership Rewards on a US Amex gets you 200 Avios, so that’s a total of 136,320,000 Avios points.

Should he go down this route, Liu will of course condemn himself to a lifetime of struggling with Avios’ notorious reward flight availability issues, he will not be short of points to pay for any reward flights he does find.

american express centurion card

By way of example, Mr Liu could fly First Class return from London to Tokyo 568 times (240,000 Avios), or Business Class return from London to Rome 4544 times (30,000 Avios).

Of course, he’ll have to pay taxes and fees (capped at £50 with Reward Flight Saver for the Rome trip), but we think he can probably afford it…


  1. baccarat_guy says

    I’ve been following this a bit, and some things don’t add up. The purchase, I believe was in New York in US Dollars. But, the Centurion Card is NOT a US Centurion Card. I thought it was a Hong Kong Centurion Card. I also recent read that he has a payment plan with AMEX over 1 year for this purchase. While I do believe, a special arrangement is definitely possible. The US Dollar purchase on a Hong Kong AMEX would be particularly problematic with regard to fees.

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