What’s better than traveling around the world? Traveling because of a credit card that grants you airline miles and other rewards. Of course, it goes without saying you got to purchase everything from a toothbrush to a Tesla using your card, but when the rewards are this worthwhile, it becomes a habit one gladly cultivates. Brad Wilson, the founder of a deal site known as BradsDeals, understood this concept, although he did go about it via a less-taken path. He didnt believe in splurging all his savings only to rack up miles, so he aimed to collect an enormous amount of airline miles, 4 million miles, for as little as possible.
Instead of going gaga swiping his card, Brad collected an incredible 4 million airline miles by buying $1 coins. It goes back to 2005 when the United States government created the Presidential $1 Coin Act. The initiative was to introduce $1 coins into the American currency, wherein one ordered the dollar coin on the U.S. Mint’s website. The Mint would then ship the coins for free. The catch was that the $1 coin could be bought using credit cards. What abetted Brad from making the most of this loophole was using his rewards card to purchase massive quantities of $1 coins.
The money purchased helped up the reward point meter while the coins went straight to his bank. The deposited money obviously settled his credit card statement. Whoever said going around in circles is a bad thing? Certainly not when buying oodles of money grants you oodles back to pay the card off. The process continued until Wilson finally bought a whopping $3 million coins over the next few years using his American Express Starwood card. The benefit here was that one reward point was gained for every dollar spent, and Brad had a fabulous 3 million.
The man with good fiscal sense transferred those points into his American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flyer program accumulating 1.25 miles per every point transferred. His 3 million points were turned into 4 million airline miles in total.
Also, perks like a platinum user status (for him and his wife) for life and no less than 40 round-trip domestic flights followed. In 2011, the Mint discontinued the dollar coin buying program, depriving many of this handsome chance of indulging in wanderlust for peanuts!
Note – As of writing this story, a first-class round trip from NYC to Paris on American Airlines costs 201k points per person.