do other airlines offer this online?
would you pay to hold your flights?
UA has had a similar program for quite a few years called Fare Lock, but we've never used it to hold tickets.
Yes, though United elites--and I'm assuming a good number of Marriott elites are taking advantage of RewardsPlus--would benefit from some latitude there, such as waved same day change fees and standby fees. Still a ticketing change later costs $250.
A whole other conversation could be had on flexible fares and travel insurance, but suffice to say the $7-9 for FareLock is still worthwhile in this environment.
Don't just love the change fees. My assistant recently changed one of my flights on which I had a very low fare($100). Instead of canceling and eating the ticket she made a "change". We paid the change fee of $250 to get the credit of $100 to apply to the new ticket. I paid $150 more than the published fare due to this process. if the airlines want to keep the change fee ( and I understand why they would want to apply them to restricted fares), why not implement a policy of clearly informing the customer that they should cancel and not change any ticket that is less than the fee? Good customer service and they still make money on the cancelled restricted fare.