How to Put a Delta Award on Hold

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Buried in Delta’s major award chart devaluation last year was a second piece of bad news: Delta awards could no longer be put on hold under any circumstances.

But there had to be a way, I thought. So I put the question out to twitter.

And Fly Free Frequently came back with my dream answer.

There is indeed a way to put Delta awards on hold–and it’s quite simple–that he shared with me and said I could share with everyone!

How can you put an award using Delta miles on hold? Why would you want to?

Putting a Delta award on hold is a very simple four-step process.

1. Sign into your account and perform an award search to find the flights you want. I searched for Honolulu to Atlanta in economy.

Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 12.23.08 AM

2. Select your flights as usual and click Continue on the pricing screen.

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3. Fill out the passenger and contact information as you would if you were ticketing the award right now. Click Continue.Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 12.26.49 AMScreen Shot 2014-01-13 at 12.27.00 AM


4. You are taken to the final payment screen, which is headed with the words Verify & Redeem.

Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 12.27.36 AM


It asks for your credit card info. Don’t type it in.

Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 12.27.24 AM

And at the bottom, certainly don’t click Redeem Award.

Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 12.27.30 AM


Instead, at the top of the page, click the Delta logo.

Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 12.27.36 AM


You are taken to the home screen. Right under your name, you will see that the award you were working on is held under the words UPCOMING TRIP.

Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 12.27.44 AM


If your award isn’t there, just click More Trips underneath whatever trip is there. You will be taken to a screen that shows your trip’s confirmation number and flight information.

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You are given the option to redeem right then and there online.

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How long does the hold last?

I don’t know. The site says the award must be booked “before [today's date]” which is impossible. It might mean the award is held until 11:59 PM that night (11:59 PM where is anyone’s guess.)

Delta Points suggested to me on twitter that the award is held for four hours.

I know that the award hold is very short.

Can phone agents see the hold?

Yes. Mine was confused about how I had an award hold. I think the best answer is the truth. I was booking an award ticket on hold, but I was cut off in the middle. I found the award held with a confirmation number in my account.

Calling in will incur a $25 phone fee, so I’d only call if I absolutely needed to add partners that aren’t bookable online onto the held award.

I wouldn’t bother to ask a phone agent to add a segment and then leave the award on hold. Delta agents are well trained to “know” that there is no such thing as an award hold any more.

Can you put partner awards on hold?

Yes, but only the partners bookable on

  • Delta
  • Alaska
  • Korean
  • Virgin Australia
  • Alitalia
  • Air France
  • KLM

This award hold only works with online awards, so you can only hold segments from airlines bookable online.

Here’s a held award with Virgin Australia segments.

Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 12.55.34 AM

Why to Hold Awards

Holding awards is great to give you a chance to transfer points into an account while ensuring space doesn’t disappear in the interim.

It’s frustrating to see great award space, initiate a point transfer, then have the space disappear and your points end up in an account that might not be able to book anything at all.

Membership Rewards transfer 1:1 instantly to Delta SkyMiles.

You can put an award on hold, transfer Membership Rewards into your SkyMiles account, then ticket online.

Holding awards also gives you time to consider your options.

Don’t forget that you also have 24 hours after booking a Delta ticket (including awards) to cancel for a full refund of all cash and miles.

Other Airlines’ Hold Policies

All the other airlines have more generous hold policies than Delta. American gives you five days. US Airways gives you three days. United gives you a little less than two days through this trick.

Thanks to Fly Free Frequently for sharing this trick with all of us. Hopefully we can get an exact duration of the hold and use it to make award booking a little easier.


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8 Responses to How to Put a Delta Award on Hold

  1. Pingback: Delta Award Hold Trick - One Mile at a Time - One Mile at a Time

  2. Pingback: You can HOLD Delta award tickets for 1-2 hours (even up to 4 with issues)! - Delta Points

  3. Pingback: The TSA Learns its Procedures Via Rumor, Pay for Lounge Access, and Earn Hotel Bonuses (Bits 'n Pieces for January 13, 2014) - View from the Wing - View from the Wing

  4. Don’t rely on this! I put an award ticket “on hold” this morning and went back to check and it was gone.

  5. The hold this way is only good for 1-2 hour total!

    • That make a lot of sense to me. This definitely seems to be a part of the system that allows an award to be held while you ticket it, so that it doesn’t disappear while you make a payment. If that’s the reason for the hold, there is no reason for it to last more than 1-2 hours.

  6. Yes. The “error hold” will last for 4 hours but having a hard time recreating it in a reliable way. Will be sure to share if I can make it work :-)

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