Busting Cashback Tiers with Mint’s $1 Coin Direct Ship Program

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My wife’s first credit card was Blue Cash by American Express because it offered 5% cashback on many of the things she bought. For those who went as far as to read the fine print, you’ll recognize that you can earn up to 5% cashback. The card works off the tier system where you don’t get the highest 5% cashback reward rate until you’ve reached a certain amount of spending each year. For some, the tiers are trivial. For others, the tiers are onerus. Here’s a great way to bust through them and make them almost irrelevant.

Buy money.

The Mint has been trying to get people to use dollar coins for decades because it’s cheaper. Coins can last up to thirty years in circulation, bills last only a few (one of the 50 Fun Facts about Cash). You can take advantage of the Mint’s marketing push by purchasing $1 Presidential coins directly from the Mint as part of their Direct Ship program. The packages come in sets of 250 coins per President and you can buy up to 2 packages per President.

With 5 Presidents currently available (3 unavailable), you can spend $2,500 at the Mint and deposit the coins into your bank. You get free shipping too. The five that are still available at Andrew Jackson, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and George Washington. There have been other $1 Presidential coins produced but they are not participating in the Direct Ship program.

The Blue Cash card’s tier is at $6,500, but by purchasing these coins you can are really looking at a tier of $4,000. As more coins become available and included into this program, you can drop that “real” tier down lower and lower. Not bad huh?

Here is a more detailed Presidential $1 Coin FAQ, for this sort of buying, from the experts at FlyerTalk, a fantastic frequent flyer mileage program experts site.

{ 70 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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70 Responses to “Busting Cashback Tiers with Mint’s $1 Coin Direct Ship Program”

  1. Monkey Monk says:

    Wow . . . that was badly worried.

    What I meant to say was “I don’t see any ethical or legal problems with doing this.”

  2. Andrew says:

    This is awesome! I just ordered $250 worth at first to make sure my bank doesn’t process it as a cash advance, which would obviously negate (and more) any benefits of this program. If they don’t, sky’s the limit!

    • JCash says:

      This is what I’d be concerned with – has no one else had issues with this being processed as a cash advance? I feel like I remember reading somewhere in one of my card’s T&C about “cash equivalent” purchases being processed as a cash advance, but I don’t recall the details…

  3. Greg says:

    One plus for the coins; if you are keeping an emergency stash around the house they resist fire and water damage very well.

  4. Jeremy Olexa says:

    Used this trick once. Now, it is against the Acceptable Use Policy. Any other ideas?

  5. Daniel says:

    The reason the Mint gives free shipping is to get the coins out in public use. Just dumping them at the bank doesn’t help this cause. And you’re costing the mint money in the credit card cost and shipping. Your “cash back” is coming from charges to retailers.

    Buy the coins by all means. And use them for daily expenses. Coffee. Small grocery store purchases. Tipping at restaurants. They’re remarkably easy to carry, and it’s a delight to see the cashier’s eyes light up when they see them for the first time. You can also order Sacagawea dollar coins.

    And tell owners/managers at retail establishments that they can get the coins and phase out using dollar bills.

    • echidnina says:

      Yeah, dollar coins are always neat to get ahold of. But I never, I mean never see them! So I would also encourage getting these coins into circulation, instead of dropping them all off at the bank.

      • DaveS says:

        I agree with you about that. While I don’t think there would be any harm in redepositing a roll or two, it’s not that difficult or a waste of space to keep them on hand in your home for spending in lieu of dollar bills. The only problem I have with dollar coins is that you can’t carry too many of them in your pocket (I’m a guy) without feeling like you’ve got a load of buckshot in your pants.

  6. mppaul2 says:

    hmmm..I wonder if the benefits would be there using a citi card with their TYP that can be used for student loan or mortgage payments? The recently changed the point values, but if you are just cycling money through…could be useful…???

  7. Cheap Bastard says:

    We aren’t keeping up with the Jones’s. Europe is still ahead of us, with their 2€ coins.

  8. Paul says:

    I too am a frugal traveler.

    However, I would like to note that the intent of selling $1 coins at face value is to introduce them into circulation to reduce the nation’s dependence on more expensive $1 paper currency. When one purchase’s these coins and immediately redeposits the coins at the bank you are defeating the purpose and intent of the treasury offering these high weight coins with free shipping. In effect you are exploiting a program that intends to better the USA, in effect compounding the costs, all for one’s personal benefit.

    I understand and appreciate a bargain as much as the next person, however the selfishness. greed and self-centeredness of individuals does not help us as a United country. The US mint web site specifically outlines the intent of these coins on its web-site:
    The immediate bank deposit of $1 coins ordered through this program does not result in their introduction into circulation and, therefore, does not comply with the intended purpose of the program.
    By clicking “Add to Cart” I agree that I understand, and will comply with, the intended purpose of the program.

    I think, in the interest of the betterment of our country is greater than the needs to of a few to collect frequent flyer miles and travel ‘frugally.’

  9. marc says:

    this policy has changed since july and credit cards can no longer be used

  10. moneymaker says:

    I was really disappointed to learn they stopped taking cards for payment- I kept putting this off myself and really wish I had taken advantage of it. I was actually planning on making all my small purchases with them, like for sodas and stuff. I know one local gas station that used them a ton. Sure, they probably got the cashback, but they really did circulate them around here.

    I get the Mint’s reasons, but in a way they still got the money circulated a bit- surely they printed fewer bills because of the coins ordered, so eventually even the coins taken to the bank will make it back to circulation one way or another. A dollar’s a dollar, and when banks order cash from the fed, surely the mint could sent the coins right? Hey if everyone hates them so much and won’t circulate them, maybe they will be collectible one day lol!

    Oh well, at least we still have cashback shopping of gift cards, but it’s just not the same.

  11. WorkaRounder says:

    Payments can be wire transferred from credit cards by money order companies and many credit cards issuers send convenience checks to their customers. Wire transfers and checks is not a complete solution to their problem.

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