Some trips are, shall we say, more eventful than others. And one man’s account of what was meant to be a short, 24-hour trip will certainly make you grateful for your last forgettable travel experience.
First, if you don’t know was a mileage run is, it’s a typical practice among elite frequent fliers in which they take short trips in order to keep their loyalty status with a particular airline. That’s what Kimmel was trying to do on a short stint to Los Cabos, Mexico, but what he ended up with was some tourist scams, a fleeting romance, time in a Mexican jail, and a very interesting story to tell.
Dear @AmericanAir,— Andrew Kimmel (@andrewkimmel) December 31, 2019
After arriving back to LA from Indonesia, I was $275 EQDs under (yet 25K miles over) from maintaining status. You asked me to pay $1875 (?!) to keep status, so instead I booked a $400 rt ticket to Mexico for 24 hrs. Here’s how my fucking night went...
According to Kimmel, he had returned to Los Angeles, where he lives, after a trip to Indonesia. Upon returning, he found out he was $275 short of keeping his elite status with American Airlines. The airline allows members to pay a fee to keep their status, but Kimmel said American was asking for $1,875 in order to do this. Instead, he went on a mileage run, booking a $400 round-trip ticket to Mexico. In theory, this should have saved him a ton of money while also letting him have some fun.
But his story ends up taking a turn for the worse. Kimmel wrote in his thread that after getting a cheap hotel and rental car (only $35), and getting his dinner comped by a generous family at a restaurant, he decided to “hit some bars.”
At the last bar of the evening, I was presented with a bill for over $300. I had two beers. The bar manager said I needed to pay or he’d call the police. I give him my credit card and it was declined due to fraud protection, which I found out today as my phone had died earlier.— Andrew Kimmel (@andrewkimmel) December 31, 2019
The bar manager was now threatening me. He grabbed me and brought me to an ATM outside. I refused to take out cash. So he called the police, of which I welcomed. Surely the Mexican police would understand the situation 🤦♂️— Andrew Kimmel (@andrewkimmel) December 31, 2019
Of course the police were working with the bar manager w/ the tourist swindle, so the police handcuff me as the bar manager steals my debit card and passport. I’m put into a police car and sit up front with two officers. We actually got along quite well as I applauded their con.— Andrew Kimmel (@andrewkimmel) December 31, 2019
After two beers, the bar manager gave him a bill for $300. According to Kimmel, this is a scam that is played on tourists to steal extra money from them. When Kimmel refused to pay for this fraudulent bill, the bar manager called the police, who Kimmel says threw him into jail. The police said they would only hold him for 30 minutes, but in reality, that time turned into an overnight stay.
The police bring me to a jail somewhere outside of Cabo. I asked if they could at least get my passport back. They laughed and said they’re locking me up for 30 minutes then letting me go. I’m placed in a cell with a guy from the UK who got into a fight.— Andrew Kimmel (@andrewkimmel) January 1, 2020
Three hours goes by. “Capitan? Capitan?” I shout through the bars. It’s now daytime and my cell mate tells me he’s gotta take a shit, but there’s no toilet paper. There is a blanket covering the window, so I suggest he take it off and use that. And he did.— Andrew Kimmel (@andrewkimmel) January 1, 2020
I doze off. I’m awoken several hours later by an officer. “Your friend pay bail.” What the fuck? Im given my belongings and shoved outside where a woman from Kenya was waiting for me. “I heard what happened when you came in, so I figured you could use some help.”— Andrew Kimmel (@andrewkimmel) January 1, 2020
When Kimmel woke up the next day, police were telling him he was bailed out by a “friend.” Kimmel said that his mystery friend was a Kenyan woman who said, “I heard what happened when you came in, so I figured you could use some help.” At this point, it is 2 p.m. and Kimmel’s flight is at 3:26 p.m. Since the Kenyan woman also had a flight to catch, they headed to the airport together.
I thank her over & over and ask what she was arrested for. “I ordered an Uber and the driver said I didn’t pay.” Fuck Cabo. So now the two of us start walking to nowhere and spot a guy chilling in his car. We ask for directions back to the marina and he instead offers us a ride.— Andrew Kimmel (@andrewkimmel) January 1, 2020
Imagine if a Mexican & a Kenyan came up to a car in the US & asked for directions. Anyways, we get to the marina & the Kenyan offers the guy cash... he refuses. It’s now 2:00 & my flight leave at 3:26. The Kenyan joins me to the airport, but unfortunately her flight was at 8:30am— Andrew Kimmel (@andrewkimmel) January 1, 2020
At the airport, Kimmel had to pull some strings so he could get on a flight since he no longer had a passport, but he needed $35 to fill out an immigration form. He asked the Kenyan woman for one more favor and then she kissed him and told him everything would be OK. So far, these are the makings of an amazing movie that rivals "The Bourne Identity." Or, at the very least, an action-packed version of How I Met Your Mother.
I have no fucking clue what I’m going to do. I call passport control in the States to report a stolen passport. They tell me to call the local embassy. I call and they’re closed. I ask my new friend to wait in the car at the airport as I run to the airline desk. It’s now 3:00pm.— Andrew Kimmel (@andrewkimmel) January 1, 2020
I tell the airline agent what happened and ask if there is anything I can do to get home. I show her my Real ID (what a stupid fucking name) and a photo of my passport. She gets on the line with CBP and somehow arranges for me to jump on the last flight out without a passport.— Andrew Kimmel (@andrewkimmel) January 1, 2020
I’m directed to the immigration desk as the airport and advised I need to purchase a new immigration form for $35. “All I have is my credit card,” I tell them. I’m then redirected to another desk that accepts credit card payments. “We’ll need your passport to process, sir.” pic.twitter.com/WsAZQSuLCV— Andrew Kimmel (@andrewkimmel) January 1, 2020
I run back to my friend in the rental car, tell her I can make the last flight out, but I needed more money 🤦♂️ At this point, I’m losing my shit over just about everything, and she grabs my hand, tells me it’ll be ok and then kisses me 😳 I kiss back. What the fuck is happening?— Andrew Kimmel (@andrewkimmel) January 1, 2020
The rest of Kimmel’s journey went by fast, and ultimately, he made the last flight out before the new year (which was the deadline for his mileage run). He eventually made it home and says he Venmoed his Kenyan crush the money she lent him.
“If you don’t make your flight, you can stay with me at my Airbnb,” my jail crush tells me. Fuck. What once was “get me out of Mexico” turned into, “well this could be interesting.” But of course I couldn’t. I came to Mexico for a goddamn mileage run & I’m getting that status ✈️— Andrew Kimmel (@andrewkimmel) January 1, 2020
So to sum it up, I was $275 short for status... was given an offer to maintain for $1875 (!?), took a $400 flight to spend 24hrs in Mexico after 20hrs travel the day before & ended up in a Mexican jail w/ no passport, a $350 bail bill, & an African crush. Happy new year everyone!— Andrew Kimmel (@andrewkimmel) January 1, 2020
Now, if you’re suspicious of Kimmel’s story, you’re not alone. There are plenty of disbelievers on Twitter who think a story this outrageous is only seen in movies.
However, One Mile at a Time did a little fact-checking and pointed to several pieces of evidence Kimmel posted that confirm his story is real, including a screenshot of a bank statement with the fraudulent charges, text messages with the mysterious Kenyan woman, and photos of the gate he would most likely come out of. So, if Kimmel’s story is actually a fake, he certainly did a lot of homework to give it credibility.
Oh, and avoid “Urban Bar” in Cabo San Lucas. They stole over $500 from me. Fuck them. Will be going after them starting in 2020. pic.twitter.com/bwDdJnaQ9l— Andrew Kimmel (@andrewkimmel) January 1, 2020
MADE IT BACK TO LA!!! Time to change out of my two-day outfit and celebrate. Have fun out there tonight ❤️ pic.twitter.com/Vtk3YGHnnc— Andrew Kimmel (@andrewkimmel) January 1, 2020
Since we have no real reason to doubt him, and we’re hopeless romantics at heart, we’re going to choose to believe this incredible story is true. Although, American Airlines’ response on Twitter was astoundingly light given the circumstances.
Reaching Executive Platinum status isn't easy. For those who make it, the benefits are amazing! We're happy you'll make your goal!— American Airlines (@AmericanAir) December 31, 2019
Kimmel wrote that he doesn’t want to discourage people from traveling to Cabo, saying that as a solo traveler, he was “an easy mark.” Travelers should be aware and safe, and sometimes it’s good to travel with a friend. In the end, it’s an incredible New Year’s Eve story.
Read Andrew Kimmel’s entire thread on Twitter and thank us later.