As an official policy, American switched to offer 24 hour refunds when purchasing travel a week or more in advance and eliminated 24 hour holds — but continued offering holds as an option on the website, indicating this would go away at some point but didn’t specify when.
American is less generous than Delta or United who allow 24 hour refunds even for purchases made within a week in travel, however this is not required by the Department of Transportation.
American has started to remove the 24 hour hold option from its website and will no longer show it to all customers on all itineraries. Presumably they’re split-testing to understand the role that holds have on purchase decisions.
Effective November 3, free holds on AA.com will only be offered randomly for reservations which are made at least 7 days before departure and do not contain other airline space.
Availability of the free hold will be independent of elite status or fare inventory, and if a free hold is not offered, starting over and over again will not cause one to eventually be offered.
This change does not affect the availability of the Extended Hold product, and all tickets purchased at least 7 days before departure may be refunded if cancelled within 24 hours of purchase.
I asked American about this and they confirmed that “some customers will still see the hold option, and some may not.. Final decisions have not been made on when it will be fully transitioned out.”
In other words “as of today, fewer customers may see the hold vs the number who would have seen it previously.”