This segment grew out of a Rolling Stone feature on Ben and this hobby.
The article and coverage generate attention and debate. Hi, I’m Ben… And I Don’t Travel The World For Free and Welcome to One Mile at a Time and the comments to them are a start to wade in. Ben is no stranger to attention and controversy, what I think should stand out above all is he came to this as a passion and the business developed later, much different from those coming to it with a business plan first, and that enthusiasm is what his fans most enjoy.
I remember the Frequent Traveler University where Ben (to his surprise) and I dueled for charity over wearing a ladies scarf from the China Southern New York-Guangzhou inaugural. Ben is no stranger to China Southern, his China Southern A380 First Class Platinum Private Suite went viral in China, China Southern took it very seriously, and in the aftermath he publicly worked through When Airlines Take Actions Based On Your Blog Post.
I am too self-conscious to watch the limited media that I do. My wife banned me from talking anything North Korea, but not miles and points. It was fun to participate. My mother-in-law was with me while my wife was at the office, and was bewildered as we took a detour from our way to the airport bound for Charleston to stop at a makeshift TV studio in the basement of the Andaz 5th Avenue. Ben was open to supplying lemon poppyseed pancakes, though I had had them before at the treat of another Hyatt Diamond and found them a bit too sweet.
The ABC crew were gentlemen all, one had been in China in the Tiananmen Square-era and I was just back from China a few days before. ABC correspondent David Wright was a fun interlocutor as we dived into the credit cards he uses (Amex pay with points!) and the airlines he flies.