The end of using credit cards at the Mint

Posted on: July 22nd, 2011 by: Jason

Just got this email in the mail – it’s a sad day but one that was expected given all the recent publicity from NPR, Newsweek, and the Wall Street Journal previously. Sad, sad, day.

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

The dollar coin gig is over

Posted on: December 15th, 2009 by: Jason

As I presented in class last December, it has been possible to order dollar coins from the US Mint with free shipping in order to earn frequent flyer miles / hotel points.

I lost track, but have done easily over $80,000. I’m not trying to brag, as I was an amateur compared to some people, such as “Mr Pickles” who did $800,000.

But with the recent coverage by the Wall Street Journal and the LA Times, the gig is up.

I did try and spread the dollar coins throughout the city. Just ask my babysitter, people at fast food restaurants, and Costco.

It was fun while it lasted.

Wall Street Journal article about hotel loyalty programs

Posted on: January 16th, 2009 by: Jason

The Wall Street Journal has a great article about their experiences with hotel loyalty programs. They found many benefits by just joining without even having elite benefits.

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