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- Earning was based on Hong Kong dollars, and the card earned 1.5 points per Hong Kong dollar spent.
- But the Hong Kong Membership Rewards program transfers points to miles on average about 15:1.
- So normalizing with the US Membership Rewards program he ‘only’ really earned enough points for 132 million frequent flyer miles.
And that barely topped the largest US Membership Rewards account balance at the time.
It’s a huge win whenever you make a big purchase and can pay with a rewards-earning credit card. Most car dealers won’t take a card for the full purchase price of the vehicle. But what about an airplane manufacturer?
Steven Udvar-Házy is one of the biggest names in aircraft leasing. He founded International Lease Finance Corporation and sold it to AIG. Twenty years later he started a new company, Air Lease Corportation. They own nearly 300 planes, and have about 400 more on order, leasing to 90 airlines around the world.
At a Paris Air Show press conference announcing a 100 jet order from Airbus, Air Lease CEO John Plueger pulled out a credit card, his company Business Platinum® Card from American Express.
“Actually Christian, my CFO authorized me to give you the American Express,’’ Plueger said, pulling out his platinum card and triggering flashes of photographers and camera phones from the roomful of journalists.
“We had to increase the limits quite a bit,’’ he quipped, with Scherer holding up another corner of the card as they posed for a photo.
— John Walton 🏳️🌈 ✈️ 💺 @ #PAS19 (@thatjohn) June 17, 2019
It wasn’t really a $13 billion deal as reported, new planes buyers usually pay about half of list price. It’s incredible to contemplate even 9.75 billion Membership Rewards points (the Business Platinum® Card from American Express earns 1.5x on purchases of $5000 or more) however.
American Airlines Boeing 787-9 in Los Angeles
While they most certainly won’t settle the transaction with a swipe of the company American Express card, when Air Lease picked up picked up five Boeing 787-9 aircraft the next day he reported that he had to cancel his company Business Platinum® Card from American Express because photos of his previous appearance with Airbus captured his card number. Steven Udvar-Hazy then suggested that Boeing accept cash.