Mexican Bar That (Allegedly) Scammed Mileage Runner Speaks Out

Filed Under: Media

This story keeps getting stranger…

Mileage Run Lands Guy In Mexican Jail

Yesterday I shared the story of a mileage run that ended with a guy spending the night in a Mexican jail. A guy did a year-end mileage run to qualify for status with American, where he flew roundtrip from Los Angeles to Cabo, with 24 hours on the ground.

The situation that unfolded almost sounds scripted — go figure the guy is a reality TV producer. The thing is, as crazy as the story sounds, every part of it adds up. I couldn’t find a single inconsistency when it came to the details regarding his flight, and he even shared screenshots of what happened. If you don’t yet know the details of this, you’ll first want to check out this post.

The Bar’s Side Of The Story

Now the bar that he accused of being behind this is speaking out. As a reminder, he claimed that Urban Bar tried to charge him $300+ for two beers, called the police on him (he claimed the police was in on the scam), and the bar manager also stole his passport.

Not surprisingly, Urban Bar has been getting destroyed on social media and their ratings platforms, so they’ve responded.

Here’s what Urban Bar has written on their Facebook page:

Well, we didn’t want to get to this but we will be giving the videos of the alleged fraud the reasons why Mr. Adrew Kimmel was taken to jail form aggravation of a woman and ended up in a high degree of drunkenness , and in a few more moments giving the rest of the version!

Here’s their follow-up (which is written in Spanish, and translated with Google Translate):

Hello friends, in the last hours the rumor has been spreading, that in our facilities the Lord, Andrew Kimmel, is being charged extra, the iso a publication where he only claims to have taken 2 beers at the bar and was charged $ 300, What is totally false. Here you can see how the man asked for a bottle of champagne and he has more drinks on the table, we clarify that this is only a part since the man stayed more than 1 hour and a half in the bar, and asked for many more things

Then here’s the video they share, which they claim proves their side of the story:

https://www.facebook.com/176799022652789/videos/1078748595804619/

My Take On This Situation

This is an interesting twist, though I’m not sure I buy the bar’s side of the story. Is it possible he met a girl and wanted to impress her (or a group of people) by ordering a bottle of champagne and other drinks? Sure. Is it possible he was really drunk and was then angry that it was so expensive? Sure.

But that doesn’t seem likely, and it’s not the first thing that comes to mind when I see the above video. To me this actually looks like a common extension to a bar scam you’ll find in many parts of the world.

They have an attractive female come sit near you, then she orders an expensive drink, and then they try to charge you an exorbitant amount for it, and claim that you ordered it.

Furthermore:

  • They claimed they were going to prove his “aggravation of a woman,” though where is the proof of that?
  • They claim the video shows that he ordered the bottle of champagne, though I don’t see any proof of that? Quite to the contrary, he says “it’s you” when the bottle is brought out, and even tries to pass off the sparkler. He doesn’t seem like someone who ordered a bottle.
  • The fact that someone from the bar was taking a video of the champagne being brought to the table almost suggests to me even more that this was a scam, so that they could later show this as “proof,” if it became an issue.
  • Even if all of this happened, why did the bar keep his passport, rather than handing it over to the police?

Personally I think Andrew’s side of the story is much more believable than the bar’s side of the story.

In fairness, it would have helped if Andrew in the original story mentioned he was seated at a table and a bottle of champagne was brought out, and they tried to charge him for it. That would at least shed some light on how they arrived at the $300+ amount (along with all of the other drinks).

It would have cleared up one point of confusion that many of us had, about how two beers mysteriously led to a $300+ bill. It sounds like he wasn’t being charged $150+ per beer, but rather was being charged for someone else’s order.

Anyway, I’m curious to see if anything else comes of this from either side. While it’s possible the bar isn’t completely in the wrong, they’re definitely not completely in the right — they certainly had no right to keep his passport even after the police arrived, if that did in fact happen.

The video doesn’t do much to prove the bar’s side of the story, in my opinion…

What do you make of this situation?

Comments
  1. fyi….Matt Lauer has a gf. You may want to write about this.
    Oh…they FLEW to New Zealand…there’s the flying angle.

  2. Was he so drunk he thought 300 pesos was 300 USD? 300 pesos is around 15.00 so that makes more sense. Just s as thought?

  3. Lucky, while I agree it’s a crazy story (real or not), it has zero relevance on your blog other than a brief note that it started on a mileage (money) run…

  4. Its a Mexican bar that can’t even afford to pay an idiot to properly translate what they want to say into correct English. Never trust third world countries or their “bars”. And yes that particular bar also sells cocaine if you know the manager

  5. They’ve published a video five minutes ago, perhaps you can update your post to reflect your viewing?

  6. I’m always amused when native speakers try to spell Spanish phonetically. If you want to translate this, keep in mind that “a” is “ha”; “iso” is “hizo”; and “aver” is “haber.” This is how I would do it:

    Hello friends, lately the rumor has been spreading, that in our facilities, Mr. Kimmel was overcharged, he published a statement where he says he drank only 2 beers at the bar and was charged $300, which is totally false. Here you can see how the gentleman asked for a bottle of champagne and he has more drinks on the table, we clarify that this is only a part since the gentleman stayed more than 1 hour and a half in the bar, and ordered many more things

  7. the video is up…and nothing happens.

    There is one point where it looks like he might be grazing the lady sitting next to him on the side of the torso while hugging her but then there’s a damn sparkler in the way. In any case, she doesn’t seem to mind and the video cuts off shortly thereafter.

    Pretty lame “evidence” from the Bar

  8. Ben, why do you keep adding more attention to this moronic story? This is the most useless clickbait “news” you could choose to bring attention to by your blog.

  9. “Hola amigos, en las últimas horas a estado corriendo el rumor, de que en nuestras instalaciones se le cobro de más al señor, andrew Kimmel, el iso una publicación donde asegura solo aver tomado 2 cervezas en el bar y se le cobraron 300 dólares, lo que es totalmente falso. Aquí se aprecia como el señor pidió una botella de champán e y en la mesa tiene más bebidas, aclaramos que esta es solo una parte ya que el señor permaneció más de 1 hora y media en el bar, y pidió muchas cosas más”

    Hello friends, in the last few hours, there’s been a rumor that our bar over-charged Mr. Kimmel. He wrote a post claiming that our bar charged him $300 for just two beers, which is completely false. You can see (in the video posted) that Mr. Kimmel ordered a bottle of champagne and had other drinks already on the table. We would like to make it clear that this is just a snippet of what happened since Mr. Kimmel stayed in the bar longer than 1.5hrs and he ordered a lot more.

    that’s my translation from the bar’s fb post. Kinda seems Kimmel tried to wave the victim flag assuming he’d get away with it and was not expecting the bar to show their (video) receipts lol. I side with the bar until more info is shared.

  10. Save the back and forth social media drama.

    If any side has some real beef, get to a court and spare us the useless guess.

  11. He clearly does not want the bottle when they bring it out. He says “it’s you” and gestures to the girl to take it, which she does. Even when they give him the sparkler, he tries to refuse it, then takes it and passes it off to the person across the table. Dude clearly doesn’t want any of this. Also, why is this bar so quiet?? Why is there no music?

  12. This story demeans OMAAT. Have a meeting and make a policy on what to cover please. “He claims he was on a mileage run” just isn’t enough IMHO. This isn’t about the mileage run.

  13. At the end of the video, it looks like he wraps his arm around the woman and gropes her breast- maybe that’s what they refer to “aggravating a woman”

  14. Honestly looks like a set up in some parts and not in others. Is he smooching the girl near the end? Is she the African Lady? I personally think he was scammed at the bar.

  15. Explain how an airline would allow him to travel without a passport. Cabo is a very touristy place and even has a US consular agency. I do not buy his story.

  16. @ Alan — I’ve 100% independently verified that he traveled on the flights he claimed to have traveled on, and that he didn’t have a passport. There’s a process by which this can happen when the airline contacts the CBP.

  17. This is one of the few high quality, content rich travel blogs out there. It doesn’t need this kind of gossip column content to drag it down. It adds absolutely no value to the travel theme. I understand that blogs survives on pageviews and ad dollars, but this falls so far from the travel blogs angle I honestly can’t understand why this is included and how it is possibly relevant just for the sake of pageviews.

    Well, it is your blog. You can post what you want. I just hope it doesn’t go the way of Gary’s blog because I already unsubscribed from his clickbate-filled nonsense that is a shadow of what it used to be 5 years ago.

  18. I see him declining the bottle – IDK. Seems like the bar sent over the bottle which would mean it should be comped.

  19. This is a common scam, although I’m not familiar with that particular bar. In Italy, a few doors down from Harry’s bar in Rome (good neighborhood), I sat down to have a drink after an obviously long flight. A pretty girl, unsolicited, sat next to me. An intimidating looking waiter asked if I’d like to buy her a drink, or share a bottle of champagne. I said sure. When we finished the bottle of champagne e the waiter gave me an 800 euro bill. I’m a fluent, Italian born citizen. I refused to hand over a credit card or passport, and just said I don’t have that much on me. They walked me to an ATM not far outside, and demanded I take out 800 euros, and the manager, a sort of fat, old guy, accompanied me and surrounded me at the ATM (bancomat in Italian.). I only took out 200 which was overpriced but not outrageous, and dropped dropped it on the floor as if I was an accident. I run marathons, so I figured I could outrun the big goon escorts, and since there were four of them and we were on a steep hill, I pushed two of them over and ran up the hill, figuring they’d never catch me. I used to live in Rome, so I knew my way around. They guys couldn’t catch me, but soon the streets were rumbling with cars, looking for me. I ran into an alley where I couldn’t be followed by a car, and no one saw me go in there. There was a low-lying fire-escape that I could jump to, did a pull up and got myself up, pulled up the ladder, and spent most of my night on the roof, looking down, as cars kept circling the street. Taxis are not allowed to just pick you up anywhere in Rome, only at a designated taxi stand, and at 4 AM there won’t be any. So I decided to sneak down, and run as fast as I could to my hotel near the Colosseum. And maybe half a mile a way I saw a taxi, he wouldn’t stop because It’s not legal, but I jumped in front of him, made him stop, and jumped in, and told him where to take me. At the hotel I told the desk clerk I’m not going to sleep in my room, but on a couch in the lobby, because if they somehow find me, I need a bunch of ways out, and not be trapped in a room. In the morning (a few hours later I woke up and went to the airport a few hours before they even opened. A similar thing happened to me in Vienna a few years later. Taxi driver takes you to a bar with pretty ladies, they edge over, you buy a bottle of champagne, the find out it costs about $1,000. I didn’t pay that one either, but that’s another story. Yes, this is an internationally well known scam.

  20. Lucky, I disagree with all these grumps (who don’t have time to click past this drama, but do have time to complain about it). This is an interesting travel story, thanks for sharing it.

  21. Lucky – you’re turning your site into something more akin to a cheap tabloid newspaper by continuing to run with this story.
    Please get back to what you’re good at!

  22. In Mexico they use the $ sign even when the price is in pesos (as do some other countries in South America). Sure it wasn’t a bill in pesos?

  23. Why on gods earth would anyone stay at that bar? No music? And yes why would they be video tapping if not a scam? LAME.

  24. Justin Ross Lee is a victim of a common bar scam. Nothing excited here. Funny part is the bar clip did nothing else but to confirm his story of the scam. The bar owners should go join those dumb HK kids or Greta, what a perfect match.

    @Lucky what a good opportunity for you to document some scams you encountered during your decade of journey. I’m pretty sure you spend time outside the glittery hotel occasionally right?

  25. Control your hormones, guys. Beware of unsolicited pretty women in bars.

  26. “The fact that someone from the bar was taking a video of the champagne being brought to the table almost suggests to me even more that this was a scam” – while I agree with you that its sketchy the bar was recording it I do think that it is sketchy that he failed to mention any of these other people being present. He made it sound like he just stopped in a bar and had two beers not that he was partying with a group of people and had his hands all over some girl. I don’t think he ordered the champagne. The fact the bar tried to hand it to the girl at first kinda indicates to me that they are full of it.

  27. Apart from the fact that all this happened while he was on mileage run, how is any of this relevant to this blog? This is a fact and information based blog with some standards. Please leave covering such juvenile drama to the tabloids.

  28. This is a very interesting travel related story, so please don’t listen to the folks that needlessly criticize the choice to post it.

  29. @Lucky. Thank you for an interesting mileage run and travel story. It is also a good reminder to be aware of travel scams. If people are not interested, they do not have to read it.

  30. “Beware of unsolicited pretty women in bars.” – Exactly. Its amazing how many idiots somehow suddenly think they are desirable when they go to a foreign country when they can’t even get women to look at them in their home country. These scams are all over the place.

  31. How naive are these people? And when you tell a story and you leave out pertinent information that doesn’t reflect well on your story, I always smell a rat. Yes, it sounds like a scam, but when you see their behaviour in the bar, you know that the problem had many sides to it. Moral of the story is that if you are in a strange bar, and a young attractive person approaches you to share a drink or three, you will probably get what you deserve.

  32. It’s more than just a mileage run and gossip. Travel scams are very real and I appreciate knowing what to avoid, what to look out for and where when I travel.

  33. Agree this story is of interest to readers of this blog. Also agree with @lucky’s take. Seemingly nothing in the video to support the bar’s claim of misconduct towards a woman, nor anything to suggest that he ordered the drinks they presumably tried to bill him more. He doesn’t appear obviously drunk.

    I also wouldn’t criticize him so much for falling for this. He wanted a good time abroad. You don’t typically expect to have a dispute over what you ordered at a bar. It doesn’t even look like he was smitten with the woman; he just looks like he’s being friendly with people at a bar.

  34. This looks like a typical douchebag bar frequented by current or ex frat boys. Frankly, I’m not sure what Ben finds so interesting about this story, but it is his blog.

  35. Does he say “it’s you” or does he say “it’s true”? I hear, “it’s true,” as if he’s continuing a story, but I could be wrong.

    I don’t know if this story happened as he said it did or not, but it’s unfortunate that many people are using this alleged incident to attack Mexico and perpetuate stereotypes.

  36. For everyone who thought this post was “pointless“ and not related to the theme of travel/miles/points, feel free to skip past this post. This is Lucky’s blog and he can post whatever he finds interesting. And for the record, I thought this was far more interesting of an article than some of the airline business class reviews that I will probably never fly. And you all know what I do with those? I skip it.

  37. A bar in Istanbul once tried this scam with me – once I figured out what was happening, I excused myself to the restroom and then sprinted out the front door.

  38. “I also wouldn’t criticize him so much for falling for this. He wanted a good time abroad. You don’t typically expect to have a dispute over what you ordered at a bar.” – oh please if its true then this is a common scam and if he travels as much as he claims he should not have been caught up in it.

  39. Let ‘s see…

    His dead phone somehow just turns back on…
    He is directed to a “local” embassy…There is no such thing.
    His restaurant bill is somehow paid by someone else…
    His bail is somehow paid by someone else…
    He rents a car for $35… There is no such thing in Cabo. How does he get from downtown to the airport and the rental car company return and to the airport in less than on hour? It is 50 minute drive from the marina and the rental car return is not at the airport, it is outside of the airport . The rental car, by the way, simply disappears from his tale…. How does he get to the airline desk (where there is usually a line), address his missing passport, then to the immigration office (where is there is usually a line) and fill out the form and pay then money and have the discussion there and back and and then through security (upstairs) and to the plane in 26 minutes (which was the scheduled departure, not boarding)?
    If the police were in on it, and about 2 million people+ a year go to Cabo, how come this type of incident as not been reported there before?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    PS: He is in the self promotion business…

    Someone buys him dinnde

  40. @Jim I got the impression that his friend Megan from California, who is not from Kenya but has an account with Compass Bank, dropped him off at the airport and he trusted her to return the rental car. There is a reference to his going back out to the rental car to get the $35 cash needed for the exit permit. Her plane had left earlier in the day, so maybe she needed the car and he let her turn it back in before the next 24 hours expired. We know the part about his going to jail is true because she paid $337.50 to bail him out. I wonder if she was in the bar and saw everything, and decided to be a good Samaritan. His story was that she was accused of not paying an Uber driver, but that’s not a familiar scam in Mexico.

  41. @Larry <—- obviously this Liam Neeson’s account. Just imagine if they’d kidnapped his daughter for payment.

  42. @Lary: you lost all your credibility when you said you are an Italian born and fluent in Italian. If that is really true and you got scammed by that old scam in your own country it shows you deserve.

  43. Lol. Moral of the story is nothing good ever happens after sun down. Had he been a good little boy and just go to some airport lounge to wait for his flight or go to a regular restaurant to get a bite, he wouldn’t be in the situation he was in.

    This is more than just here say gossip. It’s important for Lucky to point out common scams when traveling. Nothing is funnier when a regular looking guy thinks he’s all that when he travels to a foreign country. Everyone has eyes. When you don’t have the looks, pretty girls ain’t gonna hit on you period unless she wants money! It’s call common sense!

  44. This is valuable information for tourists. Ben is doing a public service by sharing it and giving his point of view. Travel isn’t all about points and luxury flights and accommodation. This is another reason that OMAAT is the very best.

  45. Jerry Springer of the travel media now. sad turn of this travel sites turning into trash media. . this story is all over the travel sites now.

  46. As others have mentioned, this is a common scam. In Istanbul, 2 of us went into a bar and a random “friend” immediately came sat next to us and told us he would get us anything we wanted. We told him we wanted to be alone and ordered a beer. Then some ladies sat next to us, some random guys as well and there was food and drinks on the table that we never ordered. We finished our beer and I said we need to get our of here before this gets out of hand. It was fun for about 30 minutes and then we got like a $500 check. I negotiated $100 for those 2 beers and chalked up as a experience.

  47. The strange part is people saying that the fact video was taken proves it was a scam. It seems to me about everything is video recorded these days – especially any kind of celebration.

  48. What is the point of everyone bitching, because that’s what it is, about whether this Belongs on the blog? Get a grip. This isn’t totally unrelated to travel and is also interesting. Relax. Jesus.

    Thanks for relaying this story. It was interesting and different. Also informative. Because I would avoid this place if I ever bothered to go back to Cabo.

  49. The way I figure it, screw Mexico and the Dominican Republic. There’s a lot more of the world to see without them, which is a shame, I always wanted to see the Mexican ruins.

  50. Lucky, Thanks for posting this. It is a cautionary tale to all of us — to paraphrase that old Karl Malden commercial, common sense, don’t leave home without it. Just because he did not mention every element in his story does not mean it did not happen. Moreover, from the comments received, it appears that similar things have happened to others in various parts of the world, and this is not unique to Mexico. So the bottom line is that it can happen to anyone, even experienced travelers, anywhere. At least this tale has a happy ending.

  51. Thanks for covering this on your blog, Lucky. It’s still travel related and informative in some ways, especially about the scams.

    Those readers complaining can just keep scrolling. No one is forcing them to click.

  52. Chris Jensen – don’t let a story like this turn you off to Mexico. Mexico is a wonderful country with lots of great people. I spend a good portion of the year in Mexico and scams can happen anywhere including in the US. As an example I remember when rental cars in Miami were identified as such by their license plates. Tourists would be lightly hit from behind in the area near the airport. When they stopped and got out of their car, they would immediately be robbed of all of their belongings. In tourist areas anywhere in the world there will always be those who try to take advantage.
    Lucky – thanks for confirming he did travel without a passport. He got very lucky.

  53. mexico is a corrupt s**thole, and the police and routinely complicit. why support such a place.

    Travellers beware, go to civil destinations.

  54. @Kevin Yup. There’s a reason why when I am traveling overseas alone, I don’t go out for a night in town, especially in places like Mexico. Have a quiet drink at a hotel bar if one really need a drink.

    Anyway, I am heading down to Cabo in a few months for some beach R&R and it looks like I know which bar to avoid!

  55. To everyone saying this doesn’t belong on OMAAT, I actually appreciate stories like this on here.

    It’s entertaining. Keeps things fresh. And keeps the content up to date. Keep it up, Lucky.

  56. I am a little bit confused…

    How the heck does this story have anything to do with points, airlines, reviews etc.?

    Reminds me of a 13-year-old spreading gossip.

  57. I no issue with Lucky posting this story.

    It’s his blog and he can post whatever he wants. Besides, it’s a nice change of pace from another J class review for an airline that no one will ever fly.

  58. It’s a scam:

    A bar with no music? Strike 1
    A bar with almost no people? Strike 2
    A video focusing mainly on the affected person? “the gringo”, ergo easy target. Strike 3
    The girl clearly is in the scam, over excited because of the bottle and pointing to the guy. Fake and overacted

  59. And BTW, I highly suspect the kenyan woman was part of the scam. She “appeared” and paid the bail? Did Andrew actually see her paying the bail? She must have been accomplice with the police, seduced him and now he will pay her for ther troubles

  60. Great story, Lucky! Thanks for posting it. It was a lot more interesting than yet another story on those useless airline incidentals credits.

  61. Grateful for all those who uphold the strict guidelines of what is permissible to post on OMAAT. What would Lucky do without you?

    I, on the other hand, appreciate a bit of levity in between the credit card and review posts but what do I know?

  62. @Will – 100% with you on that. I have the worst gaydar (as a cluelessly un-fabulous gay guy), but come on now!

  63. I wouldn’t consider this clickbait nor would I consider it entirely irrelevant. It’s closer to the edge of both for this blog but there is a cautionary tale to be had here. This has most of the elements of a common scam – which this may or may not be.

    Lucky deserves a bit of latitude. As another commenter pointed out, this blog stands out in terms of its quality and for the vast majority of its content being relevant to what I think most readers are after here. The Ghana Global Airlines story was (is) fun to follow even though there’s no way the “airline” is legitimate. Since I hope nobody here attempts a purchase with GGA, that story should remain closer to the realm of entertainment than actual travel content. OMAAT is far and away better than the slop that Leff writes (which almost exclusively involves his personal jihad with AA) and TPG which is completely and utterly dedicated to generating clicks and referrals for its sponsors with the quality and relevance of the content taking a distant second.

    I’m curious to see where this Mexico story goes and which side is the fraud.

  64. Lessons to learn:

    Don’t go to countries with corrupt police unless you plan to pay them off
    Don’t drink alcohol, as it impairs decision making abilities and removes credibility
    Really consider the value of time when doing a mileage run

Leave a Reply

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