Last updated: 11:47 AM ET, Tue November 03 2015

American Airlines To Allow Longer 'Fare Lock' Periods For a Fee

Airlines & Airports | American Airlines | Rich Thomaselli | November 03, 2015

American Airlines To Allow Longer 'Fare Lock' Periods For a Fee

How many times have you kicked yourself after booking an airline ticket, only to find a day later, two days later, five days later, that the fare had dropped? That can sometimes be the problem on an impulse buy, or not knowing when a fare is going to dip, or being too early before a rare fare war begins.

Now you have more options, at least on American Airlines.

American will begin rolling out a new booking option that allows you to hold fares for three, five or seven days for a nominal charge before actually purchasing the tickets. The airline already has a standard 24-hour policy that gives customers a chance to hold and lock in the quotes price.

In the coming months, when you make a reservation on for American Airlines flights, including American flights operated by codeshare partners, look for the "Hold" option on the "Review and Pay" page during the booking process. You can hold your reservation for 24 hours for no charge. Once you select the Hold option, the Free Hold and Extended Hold offers will display.

If you choose to hold your reservation for three days, it will cost you $7.99; for five days it’s $9.99; and for a week it’s $11.99. once you choose the lock-in option, American will send you an e-mail reminder about making the actual purchase.

When you’re ready, go to the confirmation email or My Trips on to pay for or cancel your trip. Be sure to pay with a credit card from the same country you used to hold your trip or your fare may change.

The hold charges are non-refundable, even if you decide to back out of the existing reservation and make a new one. But, think of it this way – if you find a $50 difference in fare several days later, it cost you $10 to save $40.

The lock-in option is a win-win for passengers. You either lock in a fare that could rise in the coming days, guaranteeing you the cheaper ticket cost, or you have the option to release the fare you just held and purchase a new ticket if the price drops. Nor do you have to go through the time and expense of cancelling a ticket and paying re-booking fees to buy a new one.

Right now, American is experimenting with the new additional three-, five- and seven-day charges to hold fares only on flights between Miami and Los Angeles. But an American spokesperson told the website Road Warrior Voices:

“American Airlines customers have long enjoyed the option to hold a fare for 24 hours without payment. Now, in select markets we’re adding options to hold fares on for three, five, or seven days for a nominal charge. American plans to offer this option on all routes in the continental U.S. over the next several months.”

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