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Southwest Airlines offers free Companion Pass in new flight promotion

The promotional Southwest Airlines Companion Pass is good for early 2023, but the deadline to qualify is much sooner.

WASHINGTON — Southwest Airlines is offering travelers a free Companion Pass for early 2023 as part of their latest deal on upcoming flights. 

But if you want to take advantage of this offer, you'll have to act fast. 

To be eligible for the promotion, you must first be part of Southwest's frequent flier program, Rapid Rewards, and then register for the offer on Southwest's website

After signing up, travelers must purchase a round trip or two one-way flights by Thursday, Sept. 8. You must then travel by Thursday, November 17.  Southwest notes the offer isn't valid on flights purchased with any Rapid Rewards points. 

Those who sign up and travel by then will receive a Companion Pass, which is essentially like a buy-one-get-one-free deal, that allows travelers to bring one person along for free on Southwest flights between Jan. 4, 2023 and March 3, 2023. The person using the Companion Pass does still have to pay taxes and fees from $5.60 one way, according to the airline. 

Usually Southwest's Companion Passes are reserved for frequent fliers who take 100 flights or earn 125,000 qualifying points in a calendar year. 

Full rules and details about the Companion Pass promotion are available on Southwest's website

The flight offer comes as the summer vacation season officially winds down. While leisure travel in the United States is roughly back to pre-pandemic levels - even topping 2019 numbers over the Labor Day weekend - airlines say business travel is still about 25% below 2019 levels.  

Southwest officials said Tuesday that the next two weeks will be critical to gauge demand for business travel.

Earlier this year, the airline announced plans to spend more than $2 billion to improve the flying experience for passengers, promising faster internet service, power outlets at every seat on new planes and larger overhead bins for carry-on bags.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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