This is hilarious on so many levels…
Rite Aid shopper shocks clerk with Amex points balance
A video is going viral of Barstool Sports founder David Portnoy shopping at Rite Aid with his Amex Centurion Card (often referred to as the “Black Card”).
In the nearly minute-long video posted to various social media platforms and now viewed millions of times, you can see Portnoy insert his Amex card into the card reader, while buying a $1.59 pack of gum. You can use Amex Membership Rewards points for purchases at Rite Aid, though the value isn’t very good. Eventually the credit card reader shows his Amex points balance — 44,403,931. Yow.
The employee is obviously surprised, though doesn’t seem to have much context for how much those points are really worth. She said “you probably could go on a trip,” to which Portnoy responds “I definitely can, I’ve gotta be a league leader with points, I hoard them.”
For what it’s worth, I value Amex Membership Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, so to me those points are worth ~$755K. Given that the Amex Centurion Card earns 1x points on a vast majority of purchases, it sounds like he has spent $44+ million on his card (unless he has some other secret way to earn points, which I doubt, since he doesn’t actually seem that savvy with using them).
Does this make Portnoy the master of points?
In the video caption, Barstool Sports calls Portnoy the “master of points.” Does he have a jaw-droppingly large balance of points? Without a doubt — this is one of the biggest balances I’ve ever heard of. But this only makes him the “master of points” as much as someone winning the lottery would be considered the “master of finance.”
Arguably there are quite a few opportunities left on the table here in terms of maximizing points:
- He could have been using a card that offers bonus points on drugstore purchases, like the Chase Freedom Flex or Chase Freedom Unlimited
- He could have been using that purchase of a pack of gum to reach the minimum spending requirement on a credit card, like the Barclays Aviator Red Mastercard; after all, during their credit card pitch, American Airlines flight attendants remind us that we can earn the bonus on a card just by buying a pack of gum!
- If he’s not going to actually use his points, why doesn’t he use a card offering at least 2% cash back, like the Citi Double Cash or Capital One Spark Cash Plus? Assuming he earned Amex points at the rate of 1x points per dollar spent, he’d have close to $1.5 million cash back!
- If he just wants to use one card for everyday spending, why not earn 2x points instead with the Capital One Venture X? He’d now have closer to 100 million points!
While transferable points currencies (like Amex points) hold their value better than individual airline or hotel points currencies, you should still take an “earn and burn” strategy whenever possible. There are so many amazing travel experiences to be had, and you’re not getting any of those with all those points sitting in your account.
Admittedly if you have 45 million points you’re probably not exactly hard up. Then again, surely he also wouldn’t mind an extra couple of million dollars in cash back, no?
A man with an Amex Centurion Card had a bit of lighthearted fun while paying at Rite Aid, flexing what must be one of the biggest points balances ever. I can’t help but chuckle at the Rite Aid employee telling him he probably has enough points for a trip.
What do you make of this clip?
Those were his rite aid reward points not his credit card points
It’s quite impressive, to be fair. But there are definitely others with higher points tally. Liu Yiqian put $170 million on his Centurion card for a rare art in 2015. That’s the publicly known record purchase.
Heaven knows Middle Eastern royals could probably put their toys and 777s on their Centurion card for the lolz
Agree with your points here - no pun intended. He could be using other cards for a greater value. Generally many higher end cards are not good for daily purchases. However credit card points do retain their value more than airline or hotel, hoarding is not recommended too. Even if he transferred them to Mariott or other hotels he could redeem for some nice rooms!
Transfering his points to ANA for the trip Around the World. For 340K teo of us flew from Chicago to Paris To Cairo to Istanbul to Dhaka ( Bangladesh) to Bangkok to Singapore to Maldives to Singapore again to Tokyo and home to Chicago.
Everything was in business class and additional cost was $2,200 for two people for taxes and fuel surcharges.
The best points transfer ever.
Almost 40K in tickets for 340K points and $2,200.
Some of the other cards you mentioned do not allow for large purchases. Or even worse do not have large credit lines no matter your income or net worth.
Centurion cardmembers can always convert points to payment at 100 to 1. Plus, there are many ways that they can Pay with Points and receive a 20-30% point rebate, which is basically a 20-30% discount. He needs to speak with an Amex centurion specialist and find out what he really has there. And— points can be gifted to charities as well.
At one point I had like 130,000 AMC rewards points. I never wanted to spend them because I enjoyed the look of amazement from the kid at the popcorn counter. I get it. I hoard points too.
If your net worth is into the 9 figures you're likely not going to be concerned with maximizing points.
While the stories abound regarding multi-million dollar auction purchases, most auction houses have a limit on payments with credit cards. They don't want to pay interchange fees. At Sotheby's, the limit is US$50k or 75k. Above that, they require a bank wire. Trust me on this one.
Remember, it's a black card, there's no limit, someone bought a $45 million peice of art with a black card and later a
$25 million peice.
Those two transactions alone are worth more.
Telling a multimillionaire how he can maximize his points at the drugstore is the reason why I love you Ben
Rando did something.
Value around $755.
Slow news day?
Got you to click & comment.
Slow trolling day?
That’s $755k bud.
Thank God for people like David because that allows Amex to roll out the creme brulèè for the rest of us pointsgeeks!
The biggest case for him using the Black Card is probably the lack of a spending limit. I'm not sure how the banks would assign a credit limit on a "normal" card to a bigtime CEO client...but the idea of a Chase Freedom Unlimited card with a high six-figure credit limit is hard to envision in my mind.
[Though as others have noted, the Black Card seems to come with some other odd-and-end benefits for use as well.]
Points in a Black account can be used toward airfare, at 1 cent each initially but a 50% rebate. So those are worth 2 cents each toward most airfare (business or higher class, or at his designated airline).
It's a black card with an unlimited balance so it's very easy to manufacture points or make large purchases for people and then get paid for them for his business Etc it's harder to do that with the sapphire cards and the other cards because they usually only Max you out at about 50k trust me I know
He has the business black card, which means he can pay for air ticket with half the points needed thru Amex Travel. Assuming that a round trip first class ticket costs $20k, he will "only" need to pay 1 million points. With 45 million points, that's enough for 45 round trips without worrying about availability.
This wouldn't be close to the biggest points balances ever. In 2015 there was a Chinese billionaire who paid for a painting with his Amex Black card. Cost of the painting was $170 million. He also previously used the card to for a $36 million piece of art. He probably has a scary points balance.
He is going to take it with him..........................to his Grave!
I've spent 2 years earning points to accrue 1% the number he has. If only it took 2 years to earn 1% of his personal wealth. Comparatively, it doesn't seem that extreme.
Also, is it not possible his black card MR account is attached to his other cards, so maybe he has accrued at more than 1x on spend for the most part?
Points from business expenses are the reason they keep devaluations award charts. A ton of business owners rack up millions of points per year…
“Points from business expenses are the reason they keep devaluations award charts.”
I've read a handful of Dave Portnoy articles and tidbits, but calling him a "Guy" like he's some random no-body, when he's worth more than all your employees combined, and has more employees than you, even including the dogs, is pretty funny to me. I hope he sees this one.
What's your point?
He's a guy. And a pretty trash one at that. Didn't he make his fortune from reposting user-submitted content primarily about drunk frat culture? Doesn't he keep getting sued for hostile work environment? Noice.
He's never been sued by any current or former employees for negative work environments. Say what you will about their content, any opponents or lawsuits against him have always been external. He's made more random employees very wealthy than he has harmed any of them.
Actually, haven’t there been stories about Chinese billionaires buying art at auction houses for hundred million on their Amex?
A whole plastic bag for a pack of gum seems wasteful.....
He already had a bag that he probably got from back in pharmacy and he just threw the gum in the same bag
I bought some razor refills as Walgreens yesterday and cashier did the same thing. Sometimes I wonder about the human race...
AMEX Black Card is by invitation only and you have to be rich to get one. I think a man of his caliber probably couldn't care less about AMEX points. I wish I had those points. LOL
Actually you have to spend over 250k a yr with your card. My wife and I, rich by no means, spend over 145k on our platinum card per year.. also, This writer is incorrect, we get 5x points for most things. Especially travel.
“ This writer is incorrect, we get 5x points for most things. Especially travel.”
That’s what was correct.
You get 5x on two things (airfare purchases & prepaid hotels booked via AMEX) and 1x on everything else.
Good catch @Syd.
I worked at a startup where one of the co-founders took on the early risk of opening the corporate Amex with his personal credit. He and I left the company around the same time, and he told me he'd racked up about 10 million Amex points from his years there. He and his wife will never need to pay for travel again!
10 million isn't hard to burn through buddy
Can probably only do one trip if he transfers those points to Delta SkyMiles.
Came here to say this, you beat me to it.
LOL! AAdvantage is getting to be just as bad. Consistently 300k one way business class to Europe if you don't want to pay the $1,500 in British Airways fees.
Lol underrated comment!
It reads "Barstool Sports Inc" under his name, so that's gotta be a business card. If so, certainly seems doable - a company like Barstool can definitely put a few hundred thousand $ per month = few million per year on a card. Agree with Lucky though, the guy isn't the savviest of point earners, although with $100M+ net worth and a business paying for most of his travels he probably doesn't care much about squeezing a few extra miles here and there.
He has said he has never used any points and never will. He just likes "collecting" them. Hopefully he can use them towards some good cause in the future.
I laughed at "you could probably take a trip."
Yeahhh... maybe one or two!
What Lucky is missing here is that if there is something wrong with the pack of gum, putting it on the Centurion Card will provide better customer service from Amex than if he'd put it on a Freedom.