|Get me this paper weight now!|
NPR - We recently reported on the the government's failed effort to persuade Americans to use dollar coins. But the coins have found at least one group of fans: Travel enthusiasts who buy thousands of dollar coins with credit cards that award frequent-flier miles for purchases. Once in possession of the coins — shipped to them by the government for free — they can deposit them into their bank accounts and pay off the credit card bills. The result: a free ticket to anywhere. "We've used them to go on trips around the world," says Jane Liaw, a 35-year-old public health researcher and science writer in San Francisco. Liaw says she and her husband, who use a variety of tricks for earning miles, are planning trips to Greece and Turkey, "all on miles and points." Liaw says she spends some of the coins at the local farmer's market and stores. The problem is that even if so-called "travel hackers" like Liaw put some of the coins in circulation, their purchases from the Mint contribute to a huge and growing buildup of one-dollar coins in Federal Reserve vaults....The mountain of coins is the unintended result of a 2005 act of Congress. The law requires that more and more coins be minted, despite a lack of demand by the public. (For more, see our story "$1 Billion That Nobody Wants.") The Mint's direct-ship program is aimed at getting the coins into everyday circulation. Officials there first noticed something amiss in summer 2008, when they saw that a small number of customers were repeatedly ordering large numbers of one dollar coins. The top 20 customers bought between $219,000 and $696,000 worth, says Mint spokesman Tom Jurkowsky. Another clue the hackers left was that dollar coins were arriving in banks still clad in their U.S. Mint packaging. "Do we feel a little bit violated? Yes, and that's why we aggressively sought measures to eliminate what we called an abuse," says Jurkowsky. Jurkowsky said the Mint sent letters to the top abusers and imposed a limit of 1,000 coins every ten days. "It's not illegal," he said, "But it's an abuse of the system. That's not what the system was set up to do. The system was set up to promote the use of dollar coins and we are simply trying to do the right thing here."
Is CW trying this tonight? YUP! Just last week The Alt-Tab commented on the mockery of the US Government, spending millions on producing billions of dollars worth of unused gold coins...some how a light never clicked on for us that we could put that surplus to work for us...Well if passively making fun of people for their incompetence is fun, actively joining in on the scam has to be a blast.
How do miles work anyway? To be completely honest I've never changed in my rewards miles, wouldn't even know what to do, I've always been boggled by them. How is it that I need like 500,000 rewards miles to travel 1,000 by air? Something doesn't add up, its funny money. Shouldn't we just move to a system where 1 mile = 1 mile? Or is that too obvious. I only ask because I'm wondering if that $1,000 per week figure is going to throw a cramp in my style, like am I going to be getting enough miles for a grand per week to fly wherever I want in a few months? Or is this just another pyramid scheme like the time I sent out $11 dollars to some guy who claimed I'd become rich in months and that he'd been on Oprah?