US Mint $1 Coin “game”

The US Mint offers this program called the Circulating $1 Coins Direct Ship program. Its where you can buy various $1 coins of different presidents, important Native Americans, etc. You buy the coins in boxes of $250. There is no tax, and the coins ship to your house free. For me, its UPS Overnight, with Signature Required. They won’t leave it at the door. (Which is definitely fine by me) They have a maximum order of $1000 every 10 days.

Now the game is that you can purchase these with your credit card (with one that earns miles/points/cash back). All you have to do is buy these coins (I do $1000 every 12 days or so. I’m forgetful) and either use them, or bring them back to the bank, and pay off your credit card. So now, you will have just earned 1000 miles, 1000 points, or up to $20 cash back just for going to the bank! Do this to the max for a year, say lowballing it at $30,000 (max would be $36,000), and you just earned yourself 30k miles which is enough for a domestic roundtrip in the US. OR if you have a 2% cashback card, that’s $600 just for going to the bank.

What I use it for, besides the miles, is to hit a certain spend threshold. Some credit cards have a bonus, where if you spend $X amount in a year, they will give you X. My Delta Reserve Amex, if I spend $30k in a year, will give me 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (miles only for the purpose of determining elite status), but they are also 15,000 miles I can use towards an award ticket. By doing $30,000 in coins, I will get 45,000 miles to an award ticket, plus 15,000 miles towards elite status.

Now, there are some banks that are not too happy when you walk in with $1000 in coins. First, every $1000 weighs about 20lbs. Also, there are some banks that just refuse them outright. Lets say your credit card is a Chase Visa. If you go into a Chase, and tell them you want to pay your credit card bill, no matter how you pay, they absolutely cannot turn down any form of cash to pay a bill of theirs. I know bank of america has given other people problems with deposits, or just made it the most painstaking task to deposit them. By making them unroll ALL the coins, count them manually and whatnot. But they still take it. I use Wachovia, going to two different branches. One branch takes them no problem, the other rolls their eyes when I come in, but that’s it. I you plan on buying frequently I suggest spreading out the deposits over a few branches. Federal Reserve coin bags are filled to $1000 or $2000, so I also wouldn’t bring in anymore than $2000. And its also just fucking heavy.

Similar to paying your Chase bill at the bank, I’ve heard of people going to their municipal building and paying off their property tax in coins. That’s an easy way (relatively easy) to offload several thousand coins at once.

By the way, since Nov 2010, I have done $10k, and just ordered #11 today.

Also, a few other points about the $1 coins if you’re gonna play that game…..A few credit cards charge those purchases as a cash advance instead of a purchase. So I’d test it first with one box ($250) before moving up to the max. Also, if you’re thinking about doing the Amex Platinum card churn and the coins…Actually use the card for a bit, and do the coins in 1 or 2 box increments. There’s word that people have been getting an American Express Financial Review, which is basically an audit, over all these charges on the card. I’d put that as #2 scariest thing after an IRS audit. I like Amex and want to stay for life. But I think those who were under Review had like 4-6 Amex’s and mostly using coins to meet spend requirements to obtain the bonuses. Still, something to keep in mind.

Next post, credit cards/ATMs/money while traveling internationally.
Hope this was helpful. I can give you the link, or just google the mint’s program name.

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2 Responses to “US Mint $1 Coin “game””

  1. […]  Taken to the extreme, some travel hackers try to game the "system", such as buying U.S. mint coins with credit cards to gain free rewards at the cost of tax payers). It was very practical for myself, and also I took […]

  2. […] comes in. A practice that ranges from harmless tactics to really questionable things. Such as buying U.S. mint coins with a credit card to gain free rewards at the cost of U.S. tax […]

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