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American Airlines Brings Back 24-Hour Ticket Holds

Carissa Rawson's image
Carissa Rawson
Carissa Rawson's image

Carissa Rawson

Senior Content Contributor

269 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 51U.S. States Visited: 36

Carissa served in the U.S. Air Force where she developed her love for travel and new cultures. She started her own blog and eventually joined The Points Guy. Since then, she’s contributed to Business ...

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Did you know that the Department of Transportation requires airlines to either allow you to hold a ticket for 24 hours or give you a refund up to 24 hours after purchasing? This regulation gives customers the benefit of flexibility when buying airfare as long as they’re booking more than 7 days in advance.

American Airlines has long given customers the ability to both hold and refund their tickets, but announced earlier this year that it would be trialing an elimination of the 24-hour hold. It must not have gone well, because now it’s back. Let’s talk about the changes.

What Is American Airlines’ 24-Hour Hold?

Rather than offering one option or the other, American Airlines has historically allowed customers to both place a 24-hour hold on tickets and cancel them up to 24 hours after booking. Even more generously, it’s applied this policy for flights booked just 2 days in advance — which is well beyond the DOT’s regulation.

However, earlier in 2022, American decided to eliminate the option to hold for some specific tickets. What dates and routes were affected weren’t announced; the option to place a hold simply vanished during the checkout process. This was always meant to be a trial, and happily, the trial seems to have convinced American to keep the hold.

American Airlines ticket hold
Image Credit: American Airlines

This is great news for travelers for multiple reasons. The first, obviously, is that it’s much simpler to hold a ticket than to buy it, cancel it, and wait for your refund. Depending on your card issuer, it can take weeks to get that money back.

However, a much more compelling reason — and probably one that made a big difference to American — is that eliminating the hold forced a lot of work back onto its customer service team, especially those who need to handle travel credits. American Airlines travel credits can only be used online when traveling wholly within the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Otherwise, you need to contact customer service to have the credit applied.

In the past, customers could put the itinerary on hold, then simply contact American and ask for the credit to be applied to their reservation. With this option eliminated, it then became a much more frustrating endeavor on both ends as agents had to look up, find, and book the flights themselves before applying the credit. Speaking from experience, we know that this takes ages to complete, so it’s no wonder that American has decided to reinstate the hold.

Hot Tip: Need to cancel your American cash or award flight? We’ve got you covered with our guide on how to cancel an American Airlines flight.

Final Thoughts

American Airlines has decided to bring back its 24-hour hold policy for flights, granting customers the ability to save their tickets without having to pay for them. This is great news for everyone involved, especially since its process hindered those traveling with flight credits or other unique circumstances.

Carissa Rawson's image

About Carissa Rawson

Carissa served in the U.S. Air Force where she developed her love for travel and new cultures. She started her own blog and eventually joined The Points Guy. Since then, she’s contributed to Business Insider, Forbes, and more.

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