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“Free” flights shouldn’t be stressful…

Booking the perfect flight using points and miles is an unusual adrenaline rush. Perhaps it’s because finding seats available using points is an accomplishment in itself! But what if you find the perfect flight, and the miles you need aren’t in place? You know those seats could disappear in a matter of minutes, so waiting hours or days to transfer your credit card points to the airline or purchase the additional points you need is pretty much a no go. You need to book those seats NOW – and even without points, some airlines will let you. Here’s a list of airlines which will let you “hold” reservations while you buy or transfer points…

Why Hold?

Credit card points are precious. Buying points is expensive. By keeping credit card points safely away from airline or hotel programs, you can choose where to transfer your points on a case by case basis based on availability. If availability using one type of airline miles suddenly becomes available, you can then put the reservation on hold while you move your points into place. But if they were already in place, they’d be stuck in that airline or hotel program, whether availability ever exists or not. Oh, and here’s how to find seats using points like a pro

Air France Flying Blue

Hold Time: Up to three days at agents discretion.

Hold Via: Telephone call. Contact FlyingBlue and politely request a hold.

Hold For: All available SkyTeam flights and Air France/KLM flights.

Transfer Partners: Amex, Citi, Chase, SPG.

Alitalia MilleMiglia

Hold Time: Up to seven days at agents discretion.

Hold Via: Telephone call. Contact MilleMiglia and politely request a hold.

Hold For: Alitalia flights only, though scattered reports suggest partner flights possible.

Transfer Partners: Amex, SPG.

American Airlines AAdvantage

Hold Time: Up to five days at agents discretion.

Hold Via: Telephone call. Contact AAdvantage and politely request a hold.

Hold For: All available OneWorld airlines and American Airlines flights.

Transfer Partners: SPG.

Cathay Pacific AsiaMiles

Hold Time: Up to 48 hours, if 70% of miles are in account.

Hold Via: Telephone call. Contact AAdvantage and politely request a hold.

Hold For: All available OneWorld airlines and American Airlines flights.

Transfer Partners: Amex, Citi.

Korean Airlines SkyPass

Hold Time: Up to 30 days for Korean Air flights. Five days for partner flights.

Hold Via: Telephone call. Contact SkyPass and politely request a hold.

Hold For: All available SkyTeam and Korean Airlines flights.

Transfer Partners: Amex, Chase, SPG.

Lufthansa Miles & More

Hold Time: 48 hours to 6 days, on Lufthansa, Brussels, Swiss and Austrian only.

Hold Via: Telephone call. Contact Miles & More and politely request a hold.

Hold For: All available Lufthansa group airline flights. No Star Alliance partners.

Transfer Partner: SPG.

Singapore KrisFlyer

Hold Time: Up to 10 months for Singapore flights only. Usually two weeks max.

Hold Via: Telephone call. Contact KrisFlyer and politely request a hold.

Hold For: Singapore Airlines only.

Transfer Partners: Amex, Citi, Chase, SPG.

Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles

Hold Time: Up to three months. Usually 48 hours maximum. Miles in account helps.

Hold Via: Telephone call. Contact Miles & Smiles and politely request a hold.

Hold For: Turkish Airlines and select Star Alliance partner flights. Based on route.

Transfer Partners: Citi, Marriott.

Virgin Atlantic

Hold Time: Up to 48 hours. 24 hours for partner flights.

Hold Via: Telephone call. Contact Flying Club and politely request a hold.

Hold For: Virgin Atlantic and partner flights including Air New Zealand, ANA, Delta.

Transfer Partners: Amex, Chase, Citi, SPG.

Will you use this info to hold a future flight with points and miles?

Featured image courtesy of Virgin Australia.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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4 Comments

  1. Something that would be super helpful to know for each of these is whether you need the sufficient miles in your account for the agent to make the hold. In many cases we are transferring some if not all of the points from a credit card transfer partner and I don’t know if there is variance in how you’re treated if you have 0 miles vs some of the miles vs all the miles in your account when calling.

  2. Not knowing I could request a hold on Alitalia cost me a cancellation fee — and, as you mentioned, the original booking process was stressful, too. ARGH! Thanks for the lesson!!

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