How to Hold American AAdvantage Awards for Free

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The summer of 2015 was a very memorable and important one for our family since it marked the arrival of our second child.  However, her July arrival meant that we cancelled all of the trips we had planned for the three summer months of freedom from school schedules.  Obviously that was a more than fair trade, but suffice to say we are looking forward to doing a bit more travel next summer!

No summer '15 travel means we are very ready for summer '16 travel!

No summer ’15 travel means we are very ready for summer ’16 travel!

Since many airline programs let you book flights approximately 11 months in advance, this means that we can now book award (or revenue) trips through approximately mid-August 2016.  As a result, I have spent plenty of time online in the last few days and weeks building those trips as the schedules open.  Recently I found some award availability for my family to go to Europe next summer in business class on an American Airlines operated flight.  This availability can be hard to find for multiple people on popular travel dates, so I was thrilled to find flights that were basically perfect!  However, I needed a little extra time to make sure the dates and travel plans would work for everyone involved before I could really feel comfortable pulling the trigger.

Luckily, American Airlines allows you to put many award flights on hold for free for 5 days!  That is actually pretty rare among similar programs, and while it is such a valuable feature for all travelers, it is especially valuable for families who often need to coordinate more moving parts than single travelers.

How to Hold American AAdvantage Award for Free:

In order to put an award flight on hold, simply search for flights online at American’s website as your normally would and then select the flight(s) you desire.

You then need to enter the passenger information for everyone who you desire to travel with you on the flight(s).  You can’t just hold the space, you have to designate who the space is going to be for.

After doing all that instead of purchasing the flight, you select the option to put the award flights on hold for up to five days if your flight is at least 15 days into the future.  The hold will expire at 11:59PM at the conclusion of the fifth day in the time zone where the trip originates.  Be careful with this if you are originating somewhere other than your home time zone.  If you are traveling within 1-14 days you can hold the flights for one day.  If you are traveling within 24 hours you can hold the flights for up to 2 hours.

AAdvantage Hold

For example, if I put flights on hold today (September 14th), then they would be on hold until September 19th at 11:59PM.  That really is a pretty generous hold period, especially since it is offered at no charge to everyone with no elite status required!

Those who utilize the AAdvantage program frequently probably are already familiar with this option, but if you don’t use AAdvantage frequently and/or simply didn’t know that this option existed, then I hope this post enables you to hold awards for free without risking losing the availability that can sometimes be tough to secure.

 

 

Comments

  1. Great reminder of this great feature!

    I did that very thing recently – found four one-way seats from NY-Europe on one of the few dates that would work for the family. I held them a few days, then noticed while on hold that there were four (more) open so I cancelled the first one and booked same flights again, extending my time over a weekend to get things in order with plans. There’s a risk that those new seats would have been taken in the 10 minutes, but all turned out OK and I ticketed over the weekend.

    Caveat is the “big” tourist cities (think Rome) had zero seats seemingly all summer, but the more “business” places were quite open.

  2. good info to have, however I find there is a better selection of flights when one calls in to make reservations/

    we book san/bkk/san once a year, and alway find better flight options when calling in, their sight is very poor when trying to book online for this route

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