Ever wonder how many miles you can earn on a 36 million dollar tea cup purchase? Good, neither did I.
A Chinese collector who bought an ancient Chinese ceramic cup for a record HK$281 million (US$36 million) at auction in April got an unexpected bonus when he paid for it today: almost 422 million American Express (AXP) points.
Liu Yiqian, who used his Centurion Card to pay for the cup from Sotheby’s (BID) Hong Kong, hadn’t even thought about the rewards until he was contacted by Bloomberg News.
So what can 421,860,000 AmEx points get? According to the American Express Co.’s website, they can be converted to more than 28 million frequent flyer miles or about $180,000 worth of vouchers at Hong Kong retailer ParknShop.
Liu, who drank Chinese tea from the cup shortly before he paid for it, had to sign 24 separate AmEx receipts because the system can only swipe transactions of up to HK$12 million at a time, said Nicolas Chow, head of Chinese ceramics and works of art and deputy chairman of Sotheby’s Asia.
First of all, kudos to Bloomberg news for (presumably) contacting someone regarding a 36 million dollar tea cup purchase and asking about the really important details, like how many points were earned. Now that’s what I call investigative journalism!
Here’s to hoping he converts the Membership Rewards points into airline miles, and doesn’t redeem them for merchandise. Ideally for a truly aspirational flight he couldn’t otherwise afford. Looking at the American Express Membership Rewards Hong Kong program, my partner of choice would definitely be Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer.
On second thought, if he can spend 36 million dollars on a tea cup, chances are he can afford whatever the hell aspirational airline product he wants. But hey, might as well use miles for your travels so you can spend your money on more exciting things… like tea cups! 😉
(Tip of the hat to James)