In a post-bailout world, U.S. taxpayers might think they're justified in squeezing the government for their own benefit. Finding IRS loopholes seems logical. But The Wall Street Journal is reporting on a strategy involving the U.S. Mint and frequent-flier miles.

Apparently, mile collectors used credit cards offering miles to purchase loads of $1 coins from the Mint, which paid for the shipping. "They then used the coins ... to pay their credit card bills. Their only cost: the car trip to make the deposit," reports the Journal. Meanwhile, they'd earned points from their credit card companies.

Discover Financial Services (NYSE:DFS), Capital One Financial (NYSE:COF), and MasterCard (NYSE:MA) all participate in miles programs.

One flier claimed to have parlayed the process into perks from AMR Corp.'s (NYSE:AMR) American Airlines, UAL Corp.'s (NASDAQ:UAUA) United Airlines, and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (NYSE:HOT).

Do you wish you'd caught on before the Mint cracked down? Have you seen George Clooney's new movie, Up in the Air, about a corporate-downsizing expert on the cusp of 10 million frequent-flier miles? Was it worth the price of the ticket?

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Fool online editor Kris Eddy owns no shares of any stocks mentioned in this article. Discover Financial Services is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Try any of our investing newsletters free for 30 days. The Fool has a disclosure policy.