Human slot machines

Frequent flyers are keeping the one-dollar coin grounded

Human slot machines


The one-dollar coin in the U.S. isn’t taking off. Over a billion of them lie unwanted in Federal Reserve vaults. But people exploiting efforts to circulate them are taking off. Frequently.

The U.S. Mint offers free shipping for people who buy dollar coins. Because of this, many are buying them in droves with their credit cards, garnering thousands of frequent-flyer miles before depositing them with their banks. One travel blogger told NPR he’s accumulated millions of free miles doing this. He also has privileged status with several airlines.

The practice is legal, though the Mint isn’t impressed. They first noticed it when they found out people were repeatedly ordering large quantities of coins, sometimes as much as $696,000. Since then, they’ve imposed a limit of 1,000 coins every 10 days. They’ve also sent out warning letters. But coins are still being ordered, and frequently returned to banks. Sixty per cent of the Mint’s special “Native American” edition coins are sent back.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.