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The Southwest Companion Pass is unquestionably one of the most valuable perks in the travel world. After earning the pass, you can choose a companion to travel with you for just the cost of taxes and fees on any Southwest Airlines flights booked with cash or miles (yes, including to Hawaii or international destinations).

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Normally, you can earn a regular Companion Pass of your own by flying 100 Southwest flight segments or earning 125,000 qualifying points in a calendar year. Those requirements were effectively lowered earlier this year, as Southwest gave members a boost towards the pass due to decreased travel during COVID-19. But amid a pandemic that’s slowed down travel across the board, airlines are getting even more creative to convince travelers to fly.

graphical user interface, text, application: Screengrab from Southwest

© The Points Guy
Screengrab from Southwest

Southwest emailed users this week with a sweet new promotion that makes it a lot easier to earn that coveted Companion Pass after taking just one flight — though this promotional pass will be valid for a much shorter duration than the regular pass. The promotion was set to expire on Sept. 24, but it’s been extended for one more day (Sept. 25) if you still need to book.

Rapid Rewards members can register for the promotion here. You’ll need to purchase a new qualifying revenue flight (which can be one-way or round-trip) between Sept. 22 and Sept. 25, 2020, and you must travel before Nov. 15, 2020.

This includes domestic and international revenue flights booked in any fare class such as Wanna Get Away, Anytime, or Business Select. It doesn’t seem like this offer is targeted, as I haven’t flown Southwest in years and don’t hold a co-branded Southwest credit card.

Related: How to quickly earn the Southwest Companion Pass

Keep in mind that charter flights, group travel, Southwest Vacations packages and won’t qualify for the promotion. Changes made to the itinerary after purchase may eliminate qualification for promotion. Make sure you don’t book with Rapid Rewards points, because these bookings won’t qualify, either. Travelers will still have to pay taxes and fees, which start at $5.60 each way.

After you’ve met the requirements, your companion can fly with you for just the cost of taxes between Jan. 6, 2021 and Feb. 28, 2021. You can select your initial companion within ‘My Account’ on the website or by calling Southwest at 1-800-435-9792. To change your companion, you must call 1-800-435-9792.

Related: What it’s like to fly in the U.S. right now

Bottom line

Airlines are offering lucrative (and increasingly creative) promotions to entice travelers to book as flights starts to slowly ramp back up. We’ve seen some pretty solid deals in recent weeks, but this represents one of the best promotions we’ve seen as a result of the pandemic. However, you only have today (Friday Sept. 25) to lock in a flight in order to qualify.

The regular Southwest Companion Pass isn’t terribly difficult to earn for those who lean into Southwest credit card welcome bonuses to get them closer to the goal line, but this promotion makes it easier for even the most casual Southwest fliers to earn — at least for those travelers who are again ready to take to the sky. Similar to the airline elite status extension race in the spring, it wouldn’t surprise me if other carriers followed with similar promotions as we enter the traditionally slower time for leisure travel in the fall.

Featured photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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