Enthusiasts of frequent-flier mileage have all kinds of crazy strategies for racking up credits, but few have been as quick and easy as turning coins into miles.
At least several hundred mile-junkies discovered that a free shipping offer on presidential and Native American $1 coins, sold at face value by the U.S. Mint, amounted to printing free frequent-flier miles. Mileage lovers ordered more than $1 million in coins until the Mint started identifying them and cutting them off.
Coin buyers charged the purchases, sold in boxes of 250 coins, to a credit card that offers frequent-flier mile awards, then took the shipments straight to the bank. They then used the coins they deposited to pay their credit-card bills. Their only cost: the car trip to make the deposit.Richard Baum, a software-company consultant who lives in New Jersey, ordered 15,000 coins. “I never unrolled them,” he says. “The UPS guy put them directly in my trunk.” Patricia Hansen, a San Diego retiree who loves to travel, ordered $10,000 in coins from the Mint. “My husband took them to the bank,” Ms. Hansen says, and she earned