At least with the cheese and pudding, you were actually buying perishable non-returnable products. But hundreds of travelers recently discovered the mother of all frequent flyer schemes: buying legal-tender $1 coins from the US Mint with free shipping and paying for them with miles-offering credit cards. Take the coins to the bank, use them to pay off the credit card, and keep the miles. Brilliant.
One FlyerTalker, identified by his online moniker, Mr. Pickles, claims to have bought $800,000 in coins. […] He earned enough miles to put him over two million total at AMR Corp.’s American Airlines, giving him lifetime platinum-elite status — early availability of upgrades for life and other perks on American and its partners around the world. He also pumped miles into his account at UAL Corp.’s United Airlines and points into his Starwood Preferred Guest program account.