American Airlines May Eliminate 24-Hour Ticket Hold

American Airlines May Eliminate 24-Hour Ticket Hold

67

American Airlines is currently the only major US airline to allow complimentary ticket holds. That could be changing permanently.

American trials eliminating 24-hour ticket holds

American Airlines is currently running a test whereby most customers no longer have the option to hold revenue tickets for free for a period of 24 hours. Historically this has been available to all customers when booking at least seven days in advance, while at this point most customers will no longer see this option.

The American ticket hold option is gone for many

For now this is just a two week test, and American is expected to analyze the results of this and decide whether to eliminate the hold feature permanently. This doesn’t apply to award tickets, where American still has the most generous policy in the industry, and allows AAdvantage awards to be held for up to five days.

American initially stopped guaranteeing 24-hour hold all the way back in 2016, but since then the airline fully restored this option for customers.

The United States Department of Transportation requires all airlines to offer a 24-hour reservation guarantee, where you can lock in a reservation and then have 24 hours to change your mind. This applies to all tickets booked seven or more days in advance.

American gives customers the best of both worlds, as you can hold a ticket for 24 hours, and then you can still cancel it within 24 hours, as long as you book at least two days before departure.

American may permanently eliminate 24-hour holds

Will American eliminate ticket holds permanently?

It seems like in the United States, airlines generally go the route of offering as little as they have to. That’s especially true of American Airlines. So I find it interesting that even though the airline stopped promising holds over six years ago, this feature has stuck around.

The only conclusion I can draw is that clearly American has some data that shows that this is actually a smart business decision:

  • On the one hand, I imagine many people will hold a ticket with American because of this feature, and then end up ticketing it, when they might have otherwise considered another airline
  • On the other hand, it ties up some inventory and it allows people to potentially lock in a lower price for 24 hours

Clearly American decided until now that this feature makes sense, so I wonder if American is now reconsidering this since change fees have been eliminated on most ticket types. Booking an airline ticket is no longer quite as big of a commitment as in the past, and perhaps that also takes away some of the value of ticket holds — you can always speculatively lock in a ticket, and then apply that credit toward another ticket if your plans change.

Ticket holds aren’t as big of a deal as they once were

Bottom line

American Airlines has eliminated 24-hour ticket holds for most customers, during a two week trial period. At the end of the trial we’ll see if American makes this policy change permanent, or if the airline finds that allowing holds continues to make sense.

While it would be a shame to see this feature eliminated, it’s not quite as big of a deal as in the past, given that tickets come with a lot more flexibility nowadays.

What do you make of American potentially eliminating holds on revenue tickets?

(Tip of the hat to Zach Griff)

Conversations (67)
The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. Tahoe Guest

    Agree with TravelerMSY. I recently went through hell trying to use 2 trip credits for my husband and me, couldn’t use the hold feature as it was gone. Of course when I got to payment page a note popped up saying I could put the ticket on hold and call cs…uhh, no. Of course I called cs and with high volumes my return call was not for 16 hours and by that time the fare...

    Agree with TravelerMSY. I recently went through hell trying to use 2 trip credits for my husband and me, couldn’t use the hold feature as it was gone. Of course when I got to payment page a note popped up saying I could put the ticket on hold and call cs…uhh, no. Of course I called cs and with high volumes my return call was not for 16 hours and by that time the fare had gone up $90 per ticket. What bs. I have Platinum life status on both AA and UA, my husband has Diamond life on DL. AA would make a big mistake taking hold away, it really makes a difference where I book.

  2. Mary Guest

    I use the feature all the time and usually end up buying the ticket. I've needed it twice recently and it wasn't there, which is how I found this article. I will be very unhappy if it goes away.

  3. Michael Salberg Guest

    Keep the hold feature. use it all the time and at least 90% of the time, I end up booking. Rather than eliminating this, they should concentrate on hiring more customer service people as some times the waits even for Plat Pro can be 2-3 hours for a call back.

  4. Toxster Guest

    I use this feature extensively, as it allows to reconfirm my plans prior to ticketing. For me it is a very valuable and useful tool. I agree with one of my previous commenters who mentioned that, at the very least, this should be delayed until AA can fully implement online changes. Too often I have to call to use flight or trip credits and wait for a callback hours later.

  5. John Puodziunas Guest

    As a AA EP 2 million miler, based in Italy, I use this feature extensively to coordinate worldwide travel ... always trying to stay loyal to AA when I can. Apparently, the bottom line totally outweighs customer service ... the way of the world today. It seems everything is becoming more profit driven ... evident after the government COVID bailout that resulted in poorer service. Who is coming up with these ideas? It seems customers...

    As a AA EP 2 million miler, based in Italy, I use this feature extensively to coordinate worldwide travel ... always trying to stay loyal to AA when I can. Apparently, the bottom line totally outweighs customer service ... the way of the world today. It seems everything is becoming more profit driven ... evident after the government COVID bailout that resulted in poorer service. Who is coming up with these ideas? It seems customers get less while the payout to the CEO and others just gets higher.

    1. Toxster Guest

      Once upon a time, companies were in it for the long haul. Now everything is about "mergers and acquisitions" and making a fast buck for the shareholders. Everything seems to be owned by a hedge fund these days. Only a matter of time before a company gets stripped and its assets sold off to make money.

  6. Anne Guest

    I always use American's hold feature.. and always purchase! I hope the hold feature will be reinstated .. I am a loyal American Airlines traveler.

  7. Mark Guest

    Please don't do that. Be a leader in this area and not a follower.

  8. SKV Guest

    From a personal and business perspective I would hate to see this feature eliminated. Personally, it is nice to hold a fare for 24 hours while you coordinate with other family members etc. It also provides a large group whether it be family, or a business team, time to coordinate flights with others, hotels, etc. We use American exclusively with very rare exceptions, and fare hold is one of the deciding factors for us.

  9. Whitney P Guest

    I agree with many on here about using the hold option as a frequent traveler - Executive Platinum. I own a company and we sometimes need to coordinate travel or research multiple airports so we use this feature nearly every time we book tickets. The hold also allows time to confirm car, hotel, meetings, etc. before purchasing. It is a nice feature and would hate to see it discontinued - it will make my travel life very inconvenient.

  10. Veronica H Guest

    As an Executive Platinum million miler, To reiterate what another reviewer stated, the 24 hour hold allows confirmation of hotels, other reservations, and other affected travelers’ schedules: please reconsider keeping the 24 hour hold

  11. Rich C Guest

    Aaarghhh! I book 8 people's tickets from four different airports. I put them all on 24 hour holds because inevitably the first arrival time doesn't work for the last ticket booked, and we all have to arrive at the same time. I cancel the ones that don't work, book another that does, then lock them all in at once.

    Without this feature, I'd have dozens of credit card refunds or flight vouchers resulting from booking just one trip, and I book 80+ trips per year.

    Dammit

  12. JayM Guest

    As a 2 Million Mile and Executive Platinum client, I would be very disappointed with American if they eliminate the one day hold. It is very helpful when coordinating other pieces of a planned trip, including confirming other traveling companion's schedules, before making a purchase. This would be a huge takeaway if this becomes American's new policy and a waste of energy every time I need to resort to using the mandated 24 hour cancelation and refund process.

  13. Michael Guest

    Booking a flight can be a substantial commitment of several hundred dollars or more. There are so many factors to weigh when planning a trip that it really helps to have the 24-hour hold as a way of buying time to finalize your decision. The hold option avoids the stress of the refund process, having to go through an extended waiting period to see if and when you get your money back. Given all the...

    Booking a flight can be a substantial commitment of several hundred dollars or more. There are so many factors to weigh when planning a trip that it really helps to have the 24-hour hold as a way of buying time to finalize your decision. The hold option avoids the stress of the refund process, having to go through an extended waiting period to see if and when you get your money back. Given all the ways that air travel has gotten less pleasant and offered fewer perks over the years, I hope that American Airlines will decide to keep this one perk for the sake of its customers.

  14. Richard Guest

    The 24 hour hold is an essential tool, especially when you're planning a trip with others and waiting for them to confirm. Also useful to allow time for confirming meetings with out of town clients

  15. Ruby Guest

    I think that will be very sad! I love American Airlines and don’t use any other airline. I think it’s good for me as I am able to have 24 hours to make the final decision!
    Please don’t remove! That’s why you stand out from the others!

  16. FlyerDon Guest

    This is just one more example of “if USAir didn’t do it, American is not going to keep doing it”.

  17. George Romey Guest

    At least from FT some people see the Hold when they go to book, some don't. Doing live beta testing seems moronic. Either have the feature or announce the feature is being done away with.

    AA knows how many flights are put on hold and either cancelled or booked and how many "abuses" of the system exist. The Hold feature has been around for years. Presumably it's likely used mostly by Elites that know it exist. So it would be their Elites that would "miss" the option.

  18. kiowawa Member

    Was holding off moving over all the way to Alaska, but the 24 hour hold is super helpful. If they remove it in 2 weeks, makes the decision to move. Hope they don’t. AA ExPlat.

  19. Alan Gold

    At least with AA you knew you were not going to have them keep your money. United's website promises a 24 hour refund policy yet even when I called them, their agent was unable to confirm if this applied to reservations made less than 7 days prior to the flight.

  20. Will_C New Member

    More and more I find myself irritated by AA’s continued descent to the lowest levels of customer service Hell so I guess this shouldn’t surprise me.

  21. iamhere Guest

    Who cares. You can book a ticket and cancel it or cancel and rebook (if there is a cheaper price) within 24 hours anyway, so it does not matter if they take away this feature. I guess it is tough regarding sales of seats if you don't really know how many you sold based on people holding it and not paying yet. Some of them may pay in the end others may not.

  22. David H Park Guest

    I have nearly 5 million miles on American. The 24 hour hold is CRITICAL to my planning and loyalty. It allows me to choose date, route, price and then share with partners/participants and my budgeting/planning process. If it is eliminated it would be bad and a reason for us to reconsider using American not just for myself but for all of our travel across many companies and partners.

    That they foisted this upon us the...

    I have nearly 5 million miles on American. The 24 hour hold is CRITICAL to my planning and loyalty. It allows me to choose date, route, price and then share with partners/participants and my budgeting/planning process. If it is eliminated it would be bad and a reason for us to reconsider using American not just for myself but for all of our travel across many companies and partners.

    That they foisted this upon us the users without any warning shows what they think of us. I was in the middle of trying to plan trips and they took this away without warning last night. Ruined my redeye from LAX to JFK as I had to stay up and rebook everything and causes a lot more real time messaging burden.

    American if you are reading these boards do not please make this change.

  23. Scotes New Member

    My cynical take on this... Having to actually -pay- them for the 24 hours allows AA to make money money on the float which probably eclipses the transactions fees on either end when you add everything up.

  24. D3kingg Guest

    Good. The honeymoon is over people. Wait until you see the airfares over the holiday season.

  25. Brian Gasser Guest

    I wish AA would follow WN's lead and get rid of the expiration date for flight/trip credits. It would also be great if AA combined both into a single category of travel credits, to make their use easier. It is sad when a LCC has more generous terms than a legacy/full service carrier.

  26. Yolanda Hidalgo Guest

    I love the 24 hour hold. Please don't get rid it AA.

  27. Randy Smith Guest

    I am a two million miler on AA, and I used to believe that they were far and away the best US airline. That began to change when they merged with US Airways. Since that time they have been actively engaged in a "race to the bottom" with United and Delta. They consistently take away the reasons why I was so loyal to them. Now they are just another crappy company that thinks customers are...

    I am a two million miler on AA, and I used to believe that they were far and away the best US airline. That began to change when they merged with US Airways. Since that time they have been actively engaged in a "race to the bottom" with United and Delta. They consistently take away the reasons why I was so loyal to them. Now they are just another crappy company that thinks customers are expendable. This attitude is reflected in their dismal stock performance over the past decade. Their only "benefit" is that Delta and even more, United are worse. I will hold my nose and continue to use them because I can't fly Emirates or lots of other foreign carriers. Sad, very, very sad...

  28. Kevin Guest

    I most of the time use the HOLD feature,. I an AA loyal customer and would Hate to see this feature leave. Customers are getting less and less for all airlines, including AA. and the prices have really gone up. More miles are needed for redemption. And it is almost a secret policy since seldom is information is available to the member.

  29. TravelerMSY Guest

    American, please don’t remove holds until aa .com can actually process all forms of unused/partially used tickets as payment. If I’m going to have to call or DM, I would like to have the PNR built/priced already. The fare can evaporate before y’all answer.

  30. Hobbs Guest

    Another overlooked perk of Amex Platinum is the ability to cancel within 24 hours of booking, even with less than seven days until the flight.

    1. RetiredGambler Guest

      That is a benefit any person can use. It is Federal law that airlines have to refund the cost of any flight canceled within 24 hours - not an AA elite benefit.

    2. Alan Gold

      Not if the flight is in less than 7 days. Check the law

    3. Eskimo Guest

      I don't think that's how it works.

  31. Kathleen Guest

    So sorry to this go
    If AA is making money why change so much
    My three trips gotten way back in late 21 and early 22 have been changed three times
    Time to do the right thing for paying customers

    1. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

      Confused over here, so you had 3 bookings in 2 years and haven't flower any of them? Are you wanting AA to extend your credits in perpetuity?

  32. Jeff Bosacki Guest

    As a AAPlatium 2+million Mile
    customer, the
    24 hr hold allows me to confirm hotels, shuttles before purchasing my ticket. It is essential

    1. RetiredGambler Guest

      Why? Book the flight, pay for it and if you can’t make the other arrangements simply cancel the flight within 24 hours and get a full refund.

      Why is that so hard for people? Guess some just look to complain about anything (or look to bash AA over nothing) SMH

    2. Randy Smith Guest

      I agree Jeff. It's a good policy that should be retained. For that reason, AA will scrap it to "compete" with Delta and United, two other crappy carriers!

  33. Anon 1982 Guest

    Maybe its an "internet issue".
    Last Friday, I was unable to do anything on SIXT--- frustrated I gave up only to learn that their "System" was shut down.
    AA can not turn away 24 holds.
    Too strange.

  34. JJ Guest

    Interesting - the hold button is gone for me. But if I exit the reservation instead of paying for it, then view My Reservations, it is listed there as On Hold until EOD. I've now tried this multiple times with multiple itinerates and they all stick.

    1. Hoosier in Paradise New Member

      Yes. This worked for me as well. On hold until EOD.

  35. Anon 1982 Guest

    This is rather sad.
    As an AAPLatinum for years now, this option always seemed secured- a safe way to book but not commit for 24 hours.
    I will miss it - big time.

    1. George Guest

      Some flights are over booked so eliminating the complimentary 24 hour hold may be the difference between getting a seat or flying standby.

  36. Sarah C Guest

    This article is very strange as I just placed a ticket on hold on Tuesday as I had to call to use 2 trip credits. I went to the site and checked today and I was able to use the hold feature

    1. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

      Literally it says testing for some accounts.

  37. Andy M Guest

    I was surprised that on a UK booking for transatlantic travel with AA I was not only offered the 24-hour hold, but also longer periods for a fee. I chose a 5 day hold for $25. Perhaps this is the way they're going. This was 2 weeks ago by the way.

  38. Len Guest

    @Mary....the article just said AA is the only airline that offers this option. Good luck looking.

  39. Chip Guest

    I just went through the booking process to see if this was indeed true. I had problems choosing my seats and then cancelled before I booked the flight but after I confirmed Ben's horrifying observation. Get this, I just received an email saying I had been upgraded. On a flight that I never booked. They are having issues over there at AA. Double check your flights and seat assignments!!

  40. Mary Guest

    Holding tickets for the24 hours is very important to me. I guess I will just go to the other airlines. I am platinum pro. I have been using all Citi cards and aviator cards. That will change. Start looking for another airline.

    1. legalalien Guest

      But ... Why?

      None of the other airlines offer courtesy holds, and you can still cancel without penalty within 24 hours. Is ability to hold tickets as opposed to being able to cancel for free the only reason you've been booking with AA?

    2. BenjaminGuttery Diamond

      Mary, ZERO other airlines offer this. Plus there is already and existing way to accomplish this.

    3. kiowawa Member

      @Mary I am with you on this. Not that other airlines do it, but this perk keeps me loyal. So then it’s time to lean elsewhere.

  41. Jim F. Guest

    Time for a campaign to deluge AA with requests to keep the 24-hour hold policy?

  42. AA Executive Member Guest

    I think the hold should be keep. Many times when I’m trying to make arrangements they are not set in stone and I can provide a cost to my clients in finalizing the decision and client commitment.

  43. MaxPower Guest

    Seems a bit premature when I still can't ever get my flight/trip credits to work on aa.com and have to put my itinerary on hold and call an agent. Fix the tech first, AA.

    1. Santos Guest

      This. I am consistently impressed with Delta’s IT. I can do just about anything I want with my itinerary save for fly the plane myself, all through the mobile app. And the interface is very user-friendly. AA and UA are way behind in this category.

    2. Brian Gasser Guest

      @Santos The benefit of DAL is they have had the profits to consistently invest in their IT infrastructure and have the leadership team to execute their mobile app. AA's portal is still light years ahead of dealing with JetBlue's app/website.

  44. Donna Diamond

    Hard to understand how they evaluate this two week test. It’s not like they’re adding a new feature to see how it works, they’re eliminating something. If it’s solely based on pushback from elite status customers, count me on the side of keeping the hold.

  45. Goforride Guest

    The 24 hour hold is not really necessary since passengers can still get a refund in that time.

    No hold cuts down on multiple, speculative bookings which benefits everyone...

    ...well...

    ...everyone except the person who tries to block space on multiple flights.

  46. Never In Doubt Guest

    Not a big American flyer because of location, but unless you’re holding lots of tickets at a time how is this functionally different than the 24 hr refund policy (other than the need to proactively cancel vs doing nothing lets the hold expire)?

    1. T- Guest

      Nice courtesy for booking flights that might set AA apart from other airlines. Don't ruin it.

    2. Hoosier in Paradise New Member

      Agreed. It's a product differentiator for sure.

  47. George Romey Guest

    I tried to Hold tickets yesterday and no options I think it could come back but with a charge, possibly the charge might be refunded if you book the ticket. No whether AA's technical systems could handle that process?

    Since I travel while working this was a good feature because I could check hotel rates and make sure they weren't jacked up because of a local event.

  48. Steve Diamond

    Let's hope not, i love the 24 hour hold!

  49. momo fly Guest

    Yeah, this has been one factor that made me choose American Airlines over others. It will be a shame if they change it! They are definitely all in a race to the bottom. Very sad how low the standard has become.

  50. Mak Guest

    For me, the AA 24 hour hold has always been one of the bases for my preference of flying American. I know that I can get a refund on other carriers within 24 hours, but I'm more comfortable with the AA system which I find easier to deal with if my plans change, and if AA ended the 24 hour hold it would become just another carrier for me.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

TravelerMSY Guest

American, please don’t remove holds until aa .com can actually process all forms of unused/partially used tickets as payment. If I’m going to have to call or DM, I would like to have the PNR built/priced already. The fare can evaporate before y’all answer.

3
Kevin Guest

I most of the time use the HOLD feature,. I an AA loyal customer and would Hate to see this feature leave. Customers are getting less and less for all airlines, including AA. and the prices have really gone up. More miles are needed for redemption. And it is almost a secret policy since seldom is information is available to the member.

2
Jeff Bosacki Guest

As a AAPlatium 2+million Mile customer, the 24 hr hold allows me to confirm hotels, shuttles before purchasing my ticket. It is essential

2
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,788,713 Miles Traveled

27,627,500 Words Written

32,315 Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT