I need to provide an update on my latest credit card arbitrage. About 25 days ago, one of the sites I subscribe to in my google reader showed a deal with US Mint $1 coins. Long story short, you can use your credit card to order the $1 coins at face value. So the 5,000 coins that I ordered costed me exactly $5,000. As a kicker, shipping on these coins was free! I was surprised to learn that they were delivered via next day air (Thank you uncle Sam!). Before I address the detractors, I must say there are some limitations with this deal. First, there is an order limit. For this specific series, the mint always a maximum order of 5,000 coins. Additionally, the presidential dollar coins are limited to quantities of 500 per order. Second, my order took around 20 days to process. I actually thought the mint canceled my order. I tried calling them but the automated system always disconnected me. Third, if you want to do this, it’s probably best to have a local bank. When I went to the bank to deposit these coins, I had them count it and they asked me why I ordered such a large quantity of coins. I was completely honest with them and said that I did it for the credit card points. Fourth, I was relatively surprised at the size of the boxes. I was expecting 1 very large box. The combined shipping weight of the boxes was 46 pounds. Needless to say, not very light!
Some people might be shaking their heads in disgust or wondering who would be crazy enough to order 5,000 coins from the US Mint with their credit card. Well there are a couple of unique strategies that you can use to make some extra $ of this deal. First, you can order the coins with a cash back card. This will give you a certain percentage of $ back based on the purchase price. Second, after you make the deposit at your bank, you can move the deposited amount into a high yield savings account. This will give you 30 or so days of interest on the deposited amount. Probably anywhere from 10-20$. Essentially, these coins are an interest free cash advance.
I am actually using the points I get to collect Starwoods Preferred Guest (SPG) points. I am definitely going to execute this deal again. I will do it with the Presidential coins next and possibly order another round of the native american coins. My local bank is somewhat small and hadn’t even received any of these 2009 Native American coins from the Mint. I am a little bit leary about dropping another $5,000 off in coins right away so I will do the presidential coins first.