American Eliminates Free 24 Hour Cancellation Within 7 Days

American is the only one of the three legacy carriers to employ a free 24-hour hold policy on tickets purchased 7 days prior to departure, to comply with the Department of Transportation requirements of a full refund on tickets within 24-hours. Instead of charging your credit card, American simply holds the reservation, and if you’d like to buy it, you provide a credit card and ticket it. If you don’t, simply do nothing and let the reservation expire – no fuss, no muss. You aren’t able to hold a reservation within 7 days of departure.

Within 7 days is a different story – the Department of Transportation doesn’t require any type of refund during this period, since presumably, by this point, you’d know your firm travel plans. Many airlines still offer a refund during this time, simply as a customer service measure, however American has broken away from the pack. It looks as if they’re no longer offering free cancellations for reservations cancelled within 7 days.

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Numerous reports on FlyerTalk indicate such, like this one from sukn:

Sadly there has been a policy change and no more refunds for reservations made within 7 days. Basically AA is aligning everything with DOT policies, so with their hold feature, no one is going to be getting refunds unless the fare allows it.

Now, you’ll only be able to cancel reservations in the 7-day window if they’re a fully refundable rate. While this policy doesn’t officially seem to be up on yet, there’s several reports of this occurring, which leads me to the fact that this may be true, and not simply a case where you’ll be able to hang up with one agent and speak to another.

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If you’re booking more than 7 days out, there is a way to get a 2-day hold on your ticket, vs. just 24 hours.

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  1. Mike says

    Any idea if/how this impacts award tickets booked inside 7 days? I used to be able to get a ~24 hold out of them.

    • says

      I believe the same ticketing rules will apply, unless you have elite status. As an Executive Platinum I can cancel awards at any time irregardless of the new policy.

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