mrpickles is now blogging and recently posted an extensive explanation of buying coins from the US mint with your credit card to earn miles, and depositing the money back into the bank to pay off the credit card.

The context for the post is how to quickly meet your minimum spend requirements for a credit card signup bonus, but the lessons are broadly applicable.

I first covered the opportunity in June 2008.

It’s not as easy as it used to be, there are limits on the amount of money you can do this with (no doubt thanks to the Wall Street Journal piece on the practice). Most folks have long assumed that the deal died after this article, but I pointed out last year that it was still alive, just no longer in unlimited quantities.

Some credit cards don’t like this. The US Bank Flexperks program hasn’t been awarding points as I understand it. Large volume purchasers with Chase cards have had problems, but only large volume folks.

And it’s no longer easy to order large volumes of coins, you have to limit your orders these days to 4 boxes of $250 in coins every 10 days.

In fact, the only real change was that the US Mint issued a warning on its website: “There is a 4-box $1 coin limit for every 10-day period on any and all $1 coin orders. Beyond that your credit card will not be authorized.” This is something that I can work with. The coins come prerolled in $25 rolls, 10 to a box. Each box costs $250 so 4 boxes works out to $1000/per order/per 10 days. To simply meet the $2,500 spend requirement on my BA card, all I needed to do was order 10 boxes total.

The coins come with free shipping, so there’s no cost to earn the miles which for most credit cards show up as purchases. Getting them back into a bank account can be a hassle because you have to schlep the coins and then some bank tellers don’t like to deal with them, mrpickles has some good suggestions for handling them with your bank in a friendly way like not showing up at the end of the day or on a weekend.

  1. Jason said,

    Also the every 10 day order is PER authorized user – just ask my three authorized users that live at my house ;)

  2. Andrew said,

    Do you have a link to mrpickles blog?

  3. Gary said,

    @Andrew link fixed in the post — sorry!

  4. Gene said,

    DO NOT DEPOSIT THESE to Bank of America. They may steal your money like they stole mine. Lawsuit pending…

    Please DO open several of their credit cards for the sign up bonuses.

  5. Super said,

    why not?
    I hate that bank with passion as they participated in bringing the world economy down and cause the unemployment of 30M+ individuals. They bought my mortage. I pay them a visit with coins every months.

  6. Aaron said,

    I have been doing this for months now. (thanks Gary!)I have been using BofA and never had any troubles. Sure, the people at the branch always try to look busy when they see me walk in with a backpack so they’re not the ones stuck with it, but they never gave me any troubles about it. In fact, the average time I spent at the counter was about the same as any other transaction. I was using an Amex Starwoods card without issue.

    I haven’t gotten a shipment in about a month, but last time I got $2,000 worth; 2 shipments of 4 boxes of $250 coins.

  7. scl said,

    Yes, let’s all try to waste the government’s and the bank’s time and resources so we can make a few dollard. Money for nothing — that’s what made this country great!

  8. Carl said,

    How about spending the dollar coins instead? I find they work great when traveling, for example to leave tips for the room attendant or the bellmen or at breakfast. They are memorable to the people who receive them.

    They work for transit fares and at cash businesses like a nail salon or convenience stores.

  9. marathon man said,

    Having info like this on the front page of a well known and widely used blog is going to kill the deal–or most certainly force it to change and not necessarily for the better. Not that people shouldn’t share but there are smaller-forumed, more long lasting methods for doing that. And now, what will happen, is that some people who did not have the time or desire to learn the minutia about coining will make big mistakes and invariably help its demise.

    Now, both this site and Mr Pickle’s site are doing just what that WSJ article did a couple years ago. that article, seen by millions, is probably WHY the mint changed it from unlimited purchasing to the every 10 day rule. Do we really want to see what’s next?

    I have already gotten flack at many banks for bringing these coins in and I am certain they will be the next place we see major problems with the coins for miles game.

    Thank you for helping to potentially end a great way that I and many others have been steadily earning miles.

  10. scriptkiddie said,

    ridiculous way of spending government money. I totally agree with scl. Shame on anyone who does this.

  11. EugeneV said,

    Huh? Shame on anyone who does this, or shame on the government, spending OUR money in yet another most ridiculous way?

  12. Super said,

    Now it’s linked via reuters. Maybe a reason why coins aren’t available for 2 weeks?

  13. Peanuts said,


    It looks like Mr. Pickles big mouth has screwed it up a little for everyone using the Mint for intended reasons, until it calms down. Yes, Reuters grabbed his article through Gary, and the description also made it to via msnbc.

    [He] should just shut up for those that actually use the Mint for reasons intended. A-hole.

  14. pretty said,

    oh, great
    thanks to eveybody, maybe its the blogers who are calling the airlines now to warn of mistake fares or mispriced items. is there a secrete bounty or reward for blogers now from corporate america?

  15. The craziest mileage earning schemes and where you should focus your points earning - View from the Wing said,

    [...] tells of buying coins from the US Mint to earn miles, mileage runs, Frequent Traveler University, and the upcoming Chicago [...]

  16. Matt said,

    has anyone ever taken these coins to a casino and change them to dollars to not piss off banks?

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