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?