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Mint Unwittingly Finances Tahiti Trip, and More

Frequent fliers buy dollar coins—at cost—with credit cards
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2009 10:41 AM CST

(Newser) – Crafty frequent fliers have racked up thousands of free miles by buying coins from the US Mint on their credit cards, and then taking them right back to the bank. The Mint, which ships free of charge in order to get more in circulation, finally got wise to “large repetitive orders” and the preponderance of unopened boxes being deposited. About 400 abusers have been blocked from further purchases, reports the Wall Street Journal.

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One frequent flier claims to have purchased $800,000 in dollar coins on credit—used immediately to pay down the balance—to gain lifetime “platinum-elite status” with his airline. Another financed an all-expenses paid trip to Tahiti. “The UPS guy put them directly in my trunk,” he noted. “Is this illegal?” a spokesman wonders. “No. Is it the right thing to do? No.” (Read more frequent flier miles stories.)

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