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Million Mile Secrets reader Gary commented:
How many times can you put a 5 day hold on an award ticket with American Airlines? When the hold expires do the seats become immediately available? Could I just rebook and get another 5 day hold?
Gary wants to know how many times he can put an American Airlines award ticket on a 5 day hold. He also wants to know how quickly the award seats become available after a hold expires, and if he can get another 5 day hold extension on an award ticket.
Gary can put a 5 day hold on an American Airlines award ticket indefinitely as long as award seats are available AND he’s booking travel more than 2 weeks in advance.
However, there’s always the possibility that the award seats do NOT become available for rebooking. This could happen if they have a good chance of being able to sell the seats for cash!
American Airlines Award Ticket Hold Policy
In general, Gary can hold an American Airlines award ticket for 5 days IF:
- His travel dates are 330 and 15 days prior to departure
- Award seats are available
So Gary can put a 5 day hold on his New York to Rome flight on November 21, 2014, because it’s at least 15 days away.
When Doesn’t the 5 Day Hold Apply?
Usually Gary can hold an award ticket for 5 days, but he can NOT hold an American Airlines award ticket for 5 days when:
- He books 14 days or less prior to departure
- He books a special award ticket
He can hold an award ticket for 1 day when his travel plans are within 14 days. And if Gary is traveling within 24 hours, he can hold an award ticket for 2 hours prior to departure.
Special award tickets (such as award seats on other airlines) may have different ticketing dates and require ticketing in 1 day. So Gary might not get a 5 day hold in those cases.
How to Put an American Airlines Award Ticket on Hold
Using the American Airlines website, he can hold award tickets on:
- American Airlines and American Eagle
- Alaska Airlines
- British Airways
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Royal Jordanian
- US Airways
American Airlines Award Ticket Fees
Gary can call American Airlines to hold an award ticket. But he will pay a fee if he does NOT have American Airlines elite status.
Gary will pay the following fees to book an American Airlines award ticket:
- $25 for domestic award tickets (waived for American Airlines Executive Platinum elite members)
- $35 for international award tickets (waived for American Airlines Executive Platinum elite members)
- $75 for ticketing less than 21 days prior to departure (waived for American Airlines elite members)
When he calls to place an award ticket on hold, the fee will be added to his reservation. When Gary books the ticket, he will be charged the fee.
Note: If Gary lets his hold expire and doesn’t book the award ticket, he will NOT be charged the fee, even if he doesn’t have American Airlines elite status.
Why Gary Should Book His Award Ticket Now
Although Gary can hold an award ticket for 5 days if he’s booking travel 15 days or more in advance, he should book his ticket now instead of waiting because:
- Award seats are limited
- Award pricing could go up
Gary should book as soon as he confirms his travel dates. Otherwise, Gary takes the chance that his 5 day hold could expire and he could lose the award seats. And if Gary is traveling during the holidays or the high season or needs multiple award tickets, there’s a higher chance the award seats won’t be available later.
But if he does let his 5 day hold expire, Gary can rebook on the American Airlines website IF award seats are still available. However, there’s no guarantee that award seats will be available for the same dates and at the same award level.
Gary can extend the 5 day hold on an American Airlines award ticket for travel between 330 and 15 days in advance IF award seats are available.
If he lets his 5 day hold expire, he can re-hold them for another 5 days IF: the award seats are available, he’s traveling more than 2 weeks in advance, and it’s not a special award.
Special award tickets may require that Gary book sooner than 5 days in advance.
Gary can hold American Airlines award tickets on the American Airlines website or by calling American Airlines at 800-882-8880.
If he doesn’t have American Airlines elite status, Gary will pay a fee to book his award ticket. He’ll be charged the fee when he books his ticket. But he won’t pay a fee if he doesn’t book the ticket.
Gary should book his award tickets immediately because award seats are limited and he might have to pay a higher award redemption if his hold expires.
How many times have you extended a hold on American Airlines award tickets?