Why American Airlines Pulled The Plug On Extended Reservation Holds

American Airlines has eliminated the option to pay for an extended hold. People simply did not use it.

You can usually hold a reservation – preserving its price, though technically not guaranteed until ticketing – for 24 hours. But customers could pay a fee to extend this to 3, 5, or 7 days. Those paid extended hold options are no longer being sold.

While free 24 hour holds are popular (and 5 day holds on awards), people did not want to pay extra to hold a reservation for more than 24 hours, in order to avoid paying extra when they were ready to ticket.

American began selling extended holds in 2015. It was an early revenue initiative of US Airways management after taking over.

This isn’t really a loss, but it’s fascinating insight into the business of retailing airfare, where the American Airlines website could do $60 million a day in sales even before the pandemic and the inflation that followed.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. I’m guessing UA (who doesn’t allow holds) still charges for their similar FareLock program.

  2. I’m a bit confused, I still see holds for five days at no charge. I even used one last week while finalizing an international trip.

  3. So, at AA, is the 24 hour hold still available? While the extended holds have been rescinded.

  4. So, at AA, is fhe 24 hold still available?
    It is only the extended multiple day holds that have been rescinded?

  5. Last time I booked an award ticket on AA the hold option for either 3 or 5 days was there at no charge. I’ve never been charged by AA for a hold and use it quite often. Now lifetime elite so my experience may be different from the average customer.

  6. Awards get a 5-day hold. Paid tickets get 24 hours. So that’s why people see different lengths. (Those times are shorter for close-in bookings.)

  7. So I must have been the only paying for holds. I’ve done it at least 3 times in the past year.

  8. Paying for holds was a great deal on expensive international flights. It was a cheap “option”. I wonder if they are eliminating extended holds because they were being gamed (you have however many days to see if they fare goes down), not because they were not selling enough.

  9. The paid extended holds must have been limited to specific routes. I’m a PlatPro and having been flying AA actively since USAir’s demise, and can’t recall ever being offered this option by AA. While it’s almost always offered on my United Flights and I’ve used it there many times.

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