UPDATE 07/22/2011: This program is now dead. It was fun while it lasted, folks! http://goo.gl/gvAkp
So an interesting article was published today. It sheds some light on what some of us travel hackers have been doing for years – How Frequent Fliers Exploit A Government Program To Get Free Trips. Personally, I’ve probably only gone through about $10,000 worth of these coins in the past 4 years or so.
The premise is simple:
- Buy dollar coins from the US Mint (free shipping) with your miles/points earning credit cards – http://goo.gl/6h1fc
- Deposit them into your bank account.
- Pay off credit card bills.
- Rinse, repeat, and PROFIT!
- You can only order $1,000 worth of coins every 10 days. That’s generally not an issue unless you really plan to churn these coins.
- Some banks really frown upon accepting these coins. Some will refuse to take them in their wrapped state from the Mint. Others will count them at a later time without you present. Mostly, they’ll just look at you like you are a complete tool as you shoulder in about 60 lbs. of legal tender.
- Credit card companies (AmEx) will categorize these purchases as Cash Advances, not regular purchases, thereby not earning you any miles/points.