I Got One Detail Of The Mileage Run Mexican Jail Saga Wrong

A former producer of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette took an end of year mileage run and wound up in a Mexican prison. Many people were calling into questions details of his story but most of it actually checks out.

Andrew Kimmel said he needed $275 elite qualifying dollars for status with American Airlines so he flew to Mexico for the night, planning to return to Los Angeles on December 31. He went out drinking on his one night in Cabo, and says he was the victim of a scam where he was massively overcharged for his beer. He claimed:

  • That the cops were in on the scam
  • That he was thrown in jail
  • His passport was taken – and not returned
  • He was bailed out by a Kenyan woman
  • Who kissed him in the airport and offered to spend the night with him if he didn’t make it out of the country

I verified with American Airlines that he was put on a later flight home, traveling to Los Angeles via Phoenix when he missed the non-stop, and that Customs and Border Protection authorized his flying without a passport.

Kimmel reached out to me and let me know there was one detail of the story I had gotten wrong though. All this wasn’t even to renew his Executive Platinum (100,000 mile) status. He was mileage running to make Platinum Pro (75,000 mile status).

That makes the whole adventure even more ridiculous. He bought a ticket, rented a car, was charged $300 at Urban bar and spent the night in a Mexican prison – and all he got was Platinum Pro status.

I did not have 125K EQMs nor was I $250 short of the $15K EQDs for EP status. I realize reading back that I mentioned “maintaining status” and can see why you wrote this.

…[I] was sending each tweet as a stream of consciousness without proofing it, so apologies if there was confusion.

My goal was hitting Platinum Pro, seeing as the new $15K threshold set by AA for EP status is now nearly impossible for an independent contractor like myself to get 🙁

Platinum at American is a sweet spot. It means confirming extra legroom coach seats at booking. Unless Kimmel can sell it as a movie I don’t think the trip was worth it for Platinum Pro.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. PLEASE GOD IN HEAVEN DON’T MAKE A MOVIE OUT OF IT! As a couponer, I’ve watched the hobby go to total crap ever since they came out with that horrible tv show…house flippers have watched that biz go to total crap, storage lot buyers/sellers have watched it go, ebayers, etc….you get the idea, Anytime a tv show or movie is made out of a hobby or business, everyone sees it, thinks its AMAZING and EASY and jumps into it. They usually jump out of it but not before ruining it for those in the biz or hobby before the hooplah starts. It brings attention to things previously not an issue by manufacturers, businesses, etc…coupons are now so scrutinized by every store or the policies are so strict it makes it ridiculously hard and in many places a nightmare because employees think you’re ‘stealing” from the business. House auctions and prices are outrageous because there are now 20 wannabe flippers all vying for the same houses. Airlines and hotels will start making it much, much worse for those who accumulate miles because they’ll have a whole new crop and won’t care at all about loyalty…haven’t you seen it in the last 8-10 years?

  2. If Kimmel can make the EQDs for Platinum Pro with one MR, it would be easy peasy (not impossible) for him to get to the EXP MQD threshold with one or two MRs for EQDs.

  3. That at least makes more sense to me. If someone is willing to drop $15,000 for Executive Platinum which is worth maybe $500–$100 and yet cringes at paying $300 for a bar bill made no sense. So someone who is obviously not too much in the know is doing a run for Platinum Pro makes more sense as he is obviously not too bright but more for drama.

  4. Wow, I wouldn’t take an Uber to the other side of town for Platinum Pro. He must be oblivious.

  5. Agree. Platinum is the sweet spot because of the at booking upgrading. Especially for me with a family of five. I am just short of platinum pro but held off trips till the new year to make requalifying easier. Would much rather two years of platinum. Although I travel for work so I opted into the new spend status qualification.

  6. I agree with Penny, no movies. Our hobby is already way, way more difficult that it was years and years ago and I have been doing it at least 25 years now.

  7. AY-men, Penny!
    I’m old. I did this before it could possibly have been considered “a hobby.” But, oh well, call it what you like.
    I have always thought of this upgrade, better seat stuff largely escaping misery. Now, even that seems impossible. Instead I read about how ghastly experiences are and check Amtrak schedules, some of which are actually quite good. I have found that Amtrak is usually full of folks who also do not like chaos, abuse, and pointless drama. Seldom are they people who fear the plane falling from the sky.
    On the whole I believe US airlines have stolen or corrupted a significant part of my pleasure in life and travel. I also know that is true for many others.

  8. Ahh the vagaries of youth. Some 20 years ago I flew LAX-MCO via DFW & Bahamas to keep Plat, told customs and immigration at NAS I might be having dinner with a local to discuss business (which I wasn’t), and ended up being detained for an hour for not having a visa before being released by a supervisor. Also made the mistake of not telling my fiancee who was called by the airline (“Why are you in the Bahamas?” “umm, so I can keep sitting in exit rows next year”),

    I re-routed my 4 leg return to a non-stop, and took another domestic shorthop to keep status.

    @ Penny – the real play is investing in a Mexican Bar near the airport!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *