Million Mile Secrets Blogger Arrested And Jailed In Houston

Daraius Dubash is well-known to many miles and points veterans. He founded the blog Million Mile Secrets which he later sold to Bankrate, and which was thus acquired by Red Ventures alongside The Points Guy. The site still exists, but hasn’t been updated in over two years.

He’s an animal rights activist these days and spent time at the Discovery Green park which was acquired and created by the City of Houston (he tells me he was staying in hotels there on points) to educate people about the issue. He played documentary excerpts about mistreatment of animals on a screen, and talked to people who were interested in engaging the topic.

Each time they came out, they were asked to leave because park goers might be ‘offended’ by their message. They’d leave – but on his last visit Daraius refused. It’s a public park and government agencies can’t pick and choose who can speak based on the content of their messages under the first amendment.

The park didn’t even hide that’s what they were doing, saying “we don’t feel the content is appropriate.”

Houston police cuffed Daraius and held him in a chair until taking him to jail and charging him with criminal trespass. The charges were dismissed because yeah, you can’t do that.

Now Daraius is suing, and he’s represented by FIRE (the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression) and by the Law & Religion Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law. Here is the complaint.

The lawsuit seeks to vindicate Harsini and Dubash’s constitutional right to share their beliefs freely in a public space. It asks the court to prohibit the city and Discovery Green Conservancy from interfering with Harsini and Dubash’s peaceful advocacy at the park, and it seeks damages for First Amendment and Fourth Amendment violations.

Here’s the full story:

Daraius’s blog was popular for its ‘circles and arrows’, explaining things in the miles and points space with an ‘even a caveman can do it’ approach. After leaving the blog he’s gone a different direction, and people sometimes ask from time to time what he’s up to. Something entirely different, though he’s still using points!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. That was one of the first miles and points blogs I started reading many years ago until I figured out that he would do anything to make a buck. I wonder what his strategy is these days…affiliate marketing to the WWF or maybe Greenpeace Visa card.

  2. his blog was the no 1 at the time and used to read all the time. he had a white GF and they would both make posts on earning redeeming points. later they announced separation and 2 years later, his website blog never got updated and it was abandoned.

    what a sad ending !

  3. Hope he wins big. Cities and cops need to be slapped down hard when they violate first amendment rights. Usually big cities are not this stupid but it is Texas.

  4. Good for him. He cashed out and is now spending his time trying to better the world. I wish more entrepreneurs found the clarity he did.

  5. Iirc he sold his share to his wife, they got a divorce then she couldn’t handle it so she sold it. They dont own it anymore and it hasn’t been updated for many years. 2021 was last update.

  6. Hmmm… Don’t understand the comment from @Boraxo, “Usually big cities are not this stupid but it is Texas”. To be clear, violations of the 1st Amendment are virtually always occurring in Blue States (they hate both the 1st and 2nd Amendments). That said, Houston trends Blue in the larger Red State of Texas, so there is that. Pro Tip to @Boraxo, next time say “Usually big cities are not this stupid, but it is Blue”.

  7. Missed opportunity to not include Darious being caught in the Ashley Madison data breach. Morally questionable.

  8. God I hate the US civil litigation system. IMHO people shouldn’t be allowed to sue. Suck it up and deal with life to the consequences of your actions.

  9. It’s ok, they are just protecting your freedom!

    …freedom to not have to listen to views you don’t agree with.

  10. It’s in the Fifth Circuit, so as Mike Masnick notes, the First Amendment applies only to individuals and views embraced by reactionaries – i.e., not unfortunately, folks like Daraius.

  11. If his website is sold and owned by someone else now , why it is not being updated? Why it wasn’t changed to something else ? Still running and latest post was in 2021. So they pay for his website even though it is still very old posts ?

  12. Gary, why write the headline in a way that implies Darius is implicated in wrongdoing?

    Anyway, good for him for cashing out and moving on to more meaningful pursuits.

    Hope the city gets smacked hard for this nonsense.

  13. Kind of interesting I suppose but I stopped being a fan when he got BOA to severely tighten up their credit card signup policies by explaining in excruciating detail how to sign up for 8 of their cards in a single day on his blog. Thanks Daraius!

  14. Looks like there was no questioning of his right to speak in public or assemble, but they took issue with the use of the TV to disseminate the video.

    I wonder where using a broadcasting ‘device’ falls in terms of individual expression. I’m not familiar with any of this, just curious what previous boundaries of precedent exist.

  15. Hmmm…… Somebody had their rights trampled on and arrested for wrongdoing even though they were in the right end of the people in charge were in the wrong… Are you sure this was the city/park police and a not American Airlines employees?

  16. I’m familiar with AV, the group he was with. The video clips they show are graphic, to be fair. But it’s actually not mistreatment of animals, as Gary mentions. Most of the videos depict standard practices in the western factory farming system both in raising animals and slaughtering them. It is, obviously, hard to watch.

    I can’t speak to what they were doing specifically in Houston, but writ large AV does not harass people or make a nuisance of itself. They stand quietly, only approach people who stop to look at the footage, and they disengage with anyone who isn’t interested. If that isn’t free speech in a traditional public forum protected by the first amendment, I don’t know what is. I hope he wins.

  17. I go to parks to unwind and relax if I’m fortunate to take a lunch break. Why do I have to put up with anyone’s unsolicited speech, nonsense and viewpoints? STFU. Throw him in jail

  18. I started M/Sing and using miles and points over 10 years ago specifically because of his “circles and arrows” website. I was disappointing when he bailed on it. I have been going strong gaming millions of points every year until about 4 months ago when things changed. I hope something changes for me to get back into it. Good luck Darius in your future endeavors!

  19. @Steven, it’s not nonsense, it’s the bedrock of our constitution. Not only is it literally the FIRST amendment, but they are practicing it in what the Supreme Court has called a traditional public forum – the exact place that is afforded the maximum amount of free speech.

    I get that it’s annoying, and I get that it means being exposed to views or people we disagree with. But a public park is the EXACT type of place we need to protect free speech, even when you’re there to relax. I don’t ever want to live in a country that looks like Putin’s Russia.

    And again, they are quiet and don’t talk to anyone who doesn’t want to talk to them. No screaming on a megaphone, no chanting, no nothing. If you don’t like the speech, look away from the screens and walk by. All things considered, they practice free speech and activism pretty responsibly.

  20. FIRE is a great organization. They have gone beyond addressing the trampling of free speech on campuses because there is much work to do in the larger society (and the ACLU has become worthless).

    Don’t think I am keen on the guy’s message but wish him success in dealing with a totalitarian mindset. Because if he is not successful, I might be next.

  21. MMS is the reason why I got in to the miles and points game over 10 years ago. Their blog on Moorea inspired me to go there and it’s still one of the best vacations I have taken. Too bad Intercontinental shut down forever.

  22. There is a growing Vegan movement in the west.
    Maybe when people wake up to the fact that devoting vast amounts of land globally to animal farming, is DIRECTLY accelerating climate change and global warming. The science is irrefutable.
    Daraius and Dr Harsini are exemplary examples of citizens taking peaceful and totally law abiding action.

  23. Freedom of speech: i hope he wins. And I appreciate this blog’s expansive freedom of speech (including sad or annoying comments,) which is more expansive than I’ve experienced on other travel blogs.

  24. @Steven s

    Go away you fascist chump. You and piglets like you will soon get what’s coming to you.

  25. Good to hear what’s happened to various bloggers who dropped off the face of the earth. George – what change are you referring to 4 months ago – are you referring to the massive waves of AMEX AU claw backs? MS is still alive these days, although it has gone deeper underground than the Kola Borehole.

  26. @Tony

    “Reactionaries” Aka the Sane people of the world.


    Only losers are vegans. They are mocked by the majority.


    Texas is the most sane state in the union. It’s one of the reasons it s the fastest growing.

  27. Vegas/ClimateChange Loons/Ecoterrorists are the most annoying people on the planet.
    They are hysterical and emotional.

    I’m happy the authorities are starting to crack down on their public displays of lunacy that ruin everyones peace and ability to live.

  28. @Gary – Thanks for writing about my arrest in Houston! I didn’t grow up in a country which valued Freedom of Speech like the US does, and the ability to speak freely is a unique and cherished American value – and a value which is admired globally. I’m just doing my bit to continue the fight for the values enshrined in the First Amendment.

    Thanks for posting the old logo. Sure brought back lots of memories!

    @DaninMCI – Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoy the new MCI airport.

    @jim – Thanks for the kind words and for reading. We sure had a lot of fun back then!

    @Boraxo – My main motivation is not damages, but to enshrine the principle that First Amendment rights don’t evaporate just because a private entity has a contract to manage a public park. Unfortunately, it often takes a monetary loss to concentrate the mind.

    @Julian – Thanks for the kind words!

    @ Eric – It is factually correct, and brings light to this important matter. I’m happy to do whatever it takes to get attention to the deprivation of First Amendment rights in Houston.

    @ Christian – Yeah, I underestimated the probability of folks in Charlotte reading the blog. ‍♂️

    @ Greg – Great question! My understanding is that the First Amendment protects the right to show images on semi-trucks parked and driven through town, so I don’t see why a small TV worn on the body would be a concern. What if we were just standing holding our cell phones out instead?

    @Daniel R Hope – Lol!

    @ Rob – Thanks for reading and commenting!

    @High Flyer – Are you part of an AV group? Thanks for the support.

    @Steven – You’re welcome to look away and tune it out, just like one does with the other advertisements and messages that one encounters daily.

    @Matt – Lol!

    @george shaw – Thanks for reading, your comment, and the encouragement! I’ve found that sometimes having a large balance makes me a bit disinterested in doing a lot of work for just a few extra miles/points. I’d rather wait for something juicy…or until the balance goes down.

    @ soren – Thank you.

    @BigTee – Thanks! I love that Gary almost never censors comments…or his posts for that matter! It makes it so much more attractive than the AI gibberish taking over the web.

    @AlohaDavekennedy – Nice to see that you’re still going at the MS with fervor.

    @AndyS – Just substitute “against animal abuse” with vegan. So you get “Only losers are against animal abuse.”

  29. Daraius, you’re welcome! I used to think that putting bloggers into jail was what Saudis and Russians did, not Americans. Then I was hit by “The Plague” and I came to understand that Freedom of Speech was more restricted than just not saying “bomb” during air travel, but was super restricted by government (as well as half my family and friends) about saying anything about The Plague and unable to fly anywhere and anytime as much as in 2019. I shall never forget. I would hope that the dear readers of this blog put forth great effort at putting off the day that View From The Wing is directed by a government-suggested Artificial Intelligence Chatbox GPT Chat Bot Interwebby Thingy. Cheers and happy flying!

  30. @TexasTJ
    > To be clear, violations of the 1st Amendment are virtually always occurring in Blue States (they
    > hate both the 1st and 2nd Amendments).

    LOL. What are you smoking?

  31. Why do rich people who sell their multi million or billion dollar businesses seem to struggle to find purpose for the new lives.

    Brian Kelly formerly of TPG seems to be dipping his toes in a lot of different areas and just hasn’t found something else that sticks beyond points and miles.

  32. @ Dararius I wish you well, was among the first 1500 to follow Million Mile Secrets and met you in December 2012 at an LA convention. Have earned and burned 10,000,000 miles or so. First Amendment means the right to say things that people disagree with. One need not agree with you to support your and all our rights to free speech. Wishing you the best. Anyway thank you for your past contribution in this space. With gratitude

  33. My opinion of Mr Points and Arrows zoomed higher after reading what he’s doing now. Those fascist cops were itiching to arrest you for peaceful speech. Sue the bastards to remove them from the force and have mandatory free speech training for the rest. As for guys like Steven, he’s probably a cop.

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