American is Testing the Sale of “Extended Hold” Reservations

Ryan O. flagged for me that American is testing offering ‘extended hold’ options for sale on reservations.

It didn’t appear as an option for tickets I had booked this morning. It came up for him Miami – Los Angeles, and I was able to replicate that.

So far it does appear to be just a test, with limited availability.

  • There are 3, 5, and 7 day options at different price points.

  • It’s only available for American and their regional flights, not for partner airlines.

  • It’s only available on certain routes, for instance I tested it on Miami – Los Angeles but it didn’t appear on Dallas – San Francisco or DC – Dallas.

  • It’s only available on paid tickets. Awards already get 5 day free holds if reserved in advance anyway.

Extended hold is “subject to availability” and I haven’t yet determined whether that’s a function of advance purchase or inventory on a given flight.

The hold must be placed for all travelers on a reservation, if you only want to hold tickets for part of your party then put them on a separate reservation. (I prefer booking separately under most circumstances anyway, if there’s only one ticket available at the lowest price you won’t get that price for either passenger otherwise.)

American will only charge for the extended hold after 24 hours, so if you select extended hold but purchase or cancel within 24 hours you won’t be charged for the optional hold.

They’re hardly first to this party, it’s been offered by other airlines including United. This is actually something I like to see — it’s added fees, but for something that wasn’t already offered free, it’s truly optional, and it’s added value.

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, 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 »

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  1. Remember how they refused to honor the 24 hour hold for the “mistake” fare to China? I wonder, if you paid for the hold and then they didn’t honor it, would the DOJ would have taken a more rigid stance? Probably not but a man can dream.

  2. I noticed a 3 day hold on seats but next day midnight hold on the price which has been around . But the 3 day hold on seats the ep rep mentioned to me about two weeks ago on a revenue hold.

  3. I don’t like the weasel words “subject to availability”. So it only protects against fare changes? limited value since fare changes are rarely more than $20 each way for domestic (would you agree on the potential size on fare changes Gary?)

  4. @beachfan I believe subject to availability refers to the hold feature not being offered on all routes/itineraries (not that you have some risk of losing availability on the flight once you’ve held it)

  5. Gary – FYI with the US Airways/AA bookings after October. I called last Thursday evening to book a companion certificate flight, was told to call back on Friday because they couldn’t do the booking. Same message on Friday and Saturday. When I finally was able to book my trip today for December 23 – 31 they had increased my fare $125.00 from Thursday. I had copied the lesser fare for fear this would happen and the agent was not interested in the least to try and help me. Not a good start for me with AA!!!!

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