Free Passes are rewards for prolific and good critiquers. A Free Pass allows you to submit a story and have it critiqued in the next crit-period of your chosen Queue, no matter how long the Queue is.
There are two ways to get a Free Pass:
1. After each crit-period has passed, the admins examine it and reward the critiquer that has critted the most (minimum approx 2000 words) and has received a good grade for those crits. So it's both quality and quantity. The receiver receives 'Star Critiquer' status for one month (see What is a Star Critiquer?).
With this type of Free Pass, you will have to pay for the submission as normal when sending in the story but you will be offered the option of using your Pass to bump the story to the top of the "upcoming" section for the Queue. If you choose to use your Pass, the credits are then returned to you. You can use the Free Pass whenever you want and it never expires. You can have multiple free passes at once.
2. Premium Members may purchase a Free Pass at a cost of 15 credits when they submit a story to bump the story to the top of the "upcoming" section of their chosen Queue. This is an additional cost so that a story that would normally cost 3 credits to submit would cost a total of 18 credits if they wish to purchase a pass to ensure that it will be reviewed in the next crit period. If they have enough credits and they wish to purchase a Free Pass when they submit a story, they just click on the appropriate check box when they reach the 'Options' stage of the submission process.