A recent article in the Wall Street Journal depicted a rather lucrative scheme for earning frequent flyer miles that has been around for quite some time but has just caught the attention of the media. In June 2008, the U.S. Mint began offering free shipping on purchases of dollar coins and it didn’t take long for frequent flyers to see the possibilities for racking up miles through this program. They simply buy coins with a mileage-earning credit card, deposit the coins at the bank and pay off the credit card with the funds.
With this method, mileage collectors managed to accrue hundreds of thousands of miles–one frequent flyer says he bought $800,000 in coins. The Wall Street Journal reports that several hundred mileage junkies took advantage of the offer until the Mint began to identify them and blocked them from buying coins.
Mint spokesman Tom Jurkowsky said, “Is this illegal? No. Is it the right thing to do? No, it’s not what the program is intended to do.” While the offer is still available, the U.S. Mint is cracking down on those purchasing large shipments. You can read the lengthy FlyerTalk thread on the subject at http://www.insideflyer.com/link/?2084