Meet the taxi driver-turned-billionaire who swiped his American Express credit card to buy a $170 million painting. With the rewards points alone, he and his family can travel first class free for life.

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Who knows better how to play with money than billionaires? A Chinese billionaire Liu Yiqian Liu certainly does, because the taxi driver turned mega art collector spent and earned with a simple tap of a card. Renowned collector Liu used his American Express card to purchase a $170 million painting. The work in question was Amedeo Modigliani’s Reclining Nude, bought with a small piece of precious plastic at an auction at Christie’s in November 2015. Why did the magnate choose to buy this expensive asset with his credit card? By using their American Express Centurion card on a one-year payment plan, the family earned two billion points or 132 million frequent flyer miles. This reward implied that the clan could fly 733 round trips from London to New York in first class or, in simpler terms, fly free for life! It’s a tempting offer even for a man worth $1.4 billion.

At the time of its sale, the painting created five world records.

To date, the billionaire art collector holds the record for the most credit card awards won and the most expensive thing purchased with a credit card. “In theory, it’s possible to put a[$170 million purchase]on an American Express card,” spokeswoman Elizabeth Crosta said. “It’s based on our relationship with that individual card member and those decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, based on our knowledge of their spending habits,” shared The Guardian. Using these perks to his advantage is something Liu seems to have mastered. In 2014, he swiped his American Express card for a $36.3 million porcelain mug from the Ming Dynasty.

Liu made headlines as he sipped tea from a historic $36 million mug.

Curiously, he found himself embroiled in controversy after drinking tea from it. The bowl settlement was a theatrical, almost tedious episode, involving 24 separate swipes of the American Express Centurion card. Any discerning art connoisseur understands the importance of these mugs, aka the “holy grail” of Chinese porcelain. Liu’s wife also spoke eloquently about using Amex cards for flight miles and the thrill of flying around the world for free (not exactly). It would excite Liu to learn that the Italian entertainer will soon be celebrated on the big screen as Johnny Depp directs the biopic about Amedeo Modigliani and returns to the director’s chair after 25 years.

Johnny Depp will direct the biopic about Amedeo Modigliani.

Perhaps a replica of their $170 million painting will also make an appearance. Family tickets will likely be purchased by swiping the American Express card, or have they run free movie tickets for the past seven years?

Liu Yiqian with his wife.

Billionaire Liu Yiqian is a poster boy for Tales of Rags to Riches-
China’s most flamboyant art collector was a successful former taxi driver in the mid-1980s by investing in stock trading, real estate and pharmaceuticals. His journey as an art collector began in 1993. Today, the chairman of Sunline Group, a Shanghai-based investment firm, is worth $1.4 billion and ranks 163rd among the most rich in China. Economic period shared that Liu, the owner of the Beijing Council International Auction Co., has no idea how much his personal art collection is worth. “It must be a very, very huge number, but I don’t think much about it because I won’t sell the collection. I don’t care about the value, or how much money I spent to buy it in the first place.


The invitation-only American Express Centurion Card, aka “black card”, is a big deal –
The Amex Black card is a status symbol. This invite-only card will only be found in the wallets of the biggest spenders in the world. The card has no official credit limit, which means shopping sprees are uninterrupted, and it also earns points that net billionaires some pretty awesome deals. However, what attracts Richie Riches is the dedicated concierge and free airline tickets for companions on international flights. Plus, trips to high-end brands like Gucci and Saks with the card in tow also get them a personal shopper.


The perks are nearly endless and include everything from upgrades to hotel perks, free stays at top locations, and more. Those who want to jump on the Black Car bandwagon should know that you’ll pay a whopping $10,000 fee (including a $5,000 membership fee and $5,000 annual fee) for this premium charge card in the first year. . And more importantly, you must pay the full statement balance each month to continue using the card without restriction.

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