RIP Free Miles and Points Courtesy of the US Mint Dollar Coins

Jul 22, 2011

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I can honestly say I never once bought a dollar coin, but I know many of you have. Recently the practice caught a LOT of press with an NPR piece and as of today, you can no longer buy dollar coins with a credit or debit card (per the announcement below). I know this is a sad day for many of you, but all I can say is to pick your head up and focus on the next deal.

All good things must come to an end! However, I’m curious to know how many points/miles you all generated using this method, so feel free to share your thoughts below.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you used to be able to buy coins from the US government with free shipping, thus creating free miles since you could deposit them back into your bank and pay off that same credit card bill. See Mr. Pickles blog post on the topic.

Dear United States Mint Direct Ship Customer:

The United States Mint has eliminated the credit and debit card purchase of $1 Coins through its Direct Ship Program effective July 20, 2011. Customers who wish to purchase $1 coins through the Direct Ship Program can still do so by using a wire transfer, money order or check. Customers who wish to purchase the coins by wire transfer may fax their order to (202)756-6585. Customers interested in purchasing by money order or check may do so by submitting your request in writing to the following address:

United States Mint
PO Box 71192
Philadelphia, PA 19176-6192

Please download the order form which includes wire transfer information and follow the instructions provided on the form. http://www.usmint.gov/downloads/directShip/orderform.pdf
If you currently have an open $1 coin Direct Ship order placed with the United States Mint, that order will be cancelled. Please resubmit your order by wire transfer, check or money order using the order form. The Mint has determined that this policy change is prudent due to ongoing activity by individuals purchasing $1 coins with credit cards, accumulating frequent flyer miles, and then returning coins to local banks.  Local banks, in turn, return coins to the Federal Reserve. While not illegal, this activity is a clear abuse and misuse of the program which was intended to facilitate the use of $1 coins in cash transactions.

The Mint has undertaken several aggressive internal and external actions to mitigate this issue, including restricting chronic and repeated use of credit cards, contacting customers who frequently placed large numbers of orders to ensure they were using the coins for legitimate business purchases, and other measures.  While these efforts eliminated a significant amount of misuse in the program, we believe some abuse still exists. Eliminating the credit and debit card purchase of the $1 coin is the next step in our efforts to root out abuse in this program and ensure it is better targeted toward fulfilling its intended purpose – which is to get the $1 coin into greater circulation.

Thank you for your understanding and your continued support of the $1 Coin Program.

The United States Mint

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