Last year American switched to offer 24 hour refunds when purchasing travel a week or more in advance and eliminated 24 hour holds (although 24 hour holds are sometimes still available on their website).
American has been less generous than Delta or United who allow 24 hour refunds regardless of how far in advance you book travel. The Department of Transportation only requires offering 24 holds or refunds for travel purchased a week or more in advance.
Last year American went from the most generous policy to the least generous one, complying only with the minimum DOT standards.
American’s policy for tickets purchased online or by phone wasn’t even competitive with some online travel agencies selling American Airlines tickets.
Now American has loosened up its policy. They now allow 24 hour refunds as long as you purchase 2 days prior to travel instead of requiring 7 day advance purchase.
I still prefer holds over refunds. It makes things far easier to piece together itineraries online and then make whatever changes the website doesn’t allow over the phone. It is more time consuming and error-prone to have to build complicated itineraries with agents over the phone.
At the same time, holds didn’t used to be available 2 days prior to travel but refunds now are. I’m glad to see a customer-friendly more from American, even if their policy is still less generous than either Delta’s or United’s.