A new promotion from Southwest Airlines should offer ample motivation for anyone considering getting back into travel this fall: Register, book and fly one Southwest flight and you could score a Promotional Companion Pass to use early next year.

The catch? You’ll have to act fast. You must register for the promotion and book by Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020. You’ll also need to take your flight between Sept. 22, and Nov. 15, 2020, to qualify.

If you make the cut, the Promotional Companion Pass will allow you to bring a designated companion with you on every Southwest flight you take between Jan. 6 and Feb. 28, 2021, at no cost (save taxes and fees).

Here’s a quick look at how this promotion works and why it’s worth signing up now.

How does the Southwest Promotional Companion Pass work?

One of the most coveted perks in all of rewards travel, the standard Southwest Companion Pass lets you bring along a designated companion for free on every Southwest flight you take for up to two years. You need to take 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn at least 125,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points in a calendar year to earn the pass.

The Promotional Companion Pass works in just the same way but does not require a minimum number of Rapid Rewards points and is only valid for around eight weeks (on all flights purchased and flown from Jan. 6 to Feb. 28, 2021).

Otherwise, the pass comes with just a handful of restrictions, including the following:

  • You must pay for your flight with cash or points in order to book a companion’s flight.
  • Your companion must be booked on the same flight and dates to fly for free.
  • You can change your designated companion up to three times during the Promotional Companion Pass period.
  • If you cancel your ticket, your companion’s ticket will also be canceled, and if you don’t make your flight, they will be charged for the fare.

How to get the Promotional Companion Pass:

Taking advantage of this limited-time offer is exceedingly simple. All you need to do is register for the promotion, book a flight and travel within the specified timeframe to receive a Promotional Companion pass that you can use early next year.

Here’s how to earn the Promotional Companion Pass, step-by-step:

  1. Register for the promotion using your Rapid Rewards account number and book a flight by Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020. Your travel must be completed by Nov. 15, 2020.
  2. Fly Southwest between Sept. 22 and Nov. 15, 2020.
  3. You’ll receive a promotional Companion Pass valid between Jan. 6 and Feb. 28, 2021.

You can book both domestic and international flights in any fare family – including budget-friendly Wanna Get Away flights—but rewards flights, charter flights, group travel and Southwest Vacations packages aren’t eligible.

Is the Southwest Promotional Companion Pass a good deal?

Earning the Southwest Companion Pass is tough in general, but it’s especially challenging in the wake of COVID-19. Even with Southwest offering rewards members a 25,000-point boost toward the Companion Pass in 2020, earning a pass this year has been a tough prospect.

With this in mind, the new Southwest promotion is a terrific opportunity. Assuming you were already planning to do some traveling this fall and early next year, the Promotional Companion Pass will make it easy to earn free flights.

All you need to do is register, book and fly within the specified timeframe to earn the pass. This gives you a chance to test drive the perk and see if it’s worth opening a Southwest credit card and going for a fully-fledged Companion Pass next year.