Disney+ surpassed 100 million subscribers in March 2021, just 16 months after launching. According to Business Insider, Disney+ will overtake Netflix as the undisputed streaming leader in 2024.
This goes to show just how competitive the streaming market has become — saying nothing of other players like Hulu, HBO Max, CBS All Access, Paramount+ and more. With so many subscribers cutting the cord and joining the streaming revolution worldwide, it’s no wonder that credit card issuers are offering rewards on streaming service subscriptions.
Read on to find out where you can get the best bang for your buck when it comes to streaming rewards.
Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express: Best for everyday value
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express doles out the highest cash back rate on this list for eligible streaming subscriptions: a whopping 6 percent. Eligible streaming services include the usual suspects, like Hulu, HBO Max, Netflix, Disney+, YouTube TV and Apple TV+, but also smaller players like Luminary, FuboTV, Sling TV, Peacock, Paramount+, DirecTV Stream and Spotify. For a full list of eligible streaming services, review American Express’s list of rewards-eligible retailers on its website.
Overall, the Blue Cash Preferred Card is a great card for everyday essentials, offering cardholders 6 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year, then 1 percent), 3 percent back on U.S. gas station purchases and 1 percent back on all other purchases. Additionally, new cardholders can earn a $350 statement credit after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first six months.
Unfortunately, Amex no longer waives the annual fee in the first year. However, if you have a high annual expenditure, the $95 annual fee will easily pay for itself. With such high-earning rewards across a variety of spending categories, the Blue Cash Preferred provides the flexibility that makes maximizing your cash rewards simple.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: Best for travel
Chase’s list of rewards-eligible streaming services is much smaller than American Express’. Currently, only the following streaming services will earn the boosted rewards rate: Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, Netflix, Sling, Vudu, FuboTV, Apple Music, SiriusXM, Pandora, Peacock, HBO Max, Spotify and YouTube TV. While this list includes the major streaming players, it’s missing Amazon Prime Video.
In addition to 3X points on select streaming services, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card rewards 3X points on dining and online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target and wholesale clubs), 5X points on Lyft Rides (through March 2025), 5X points on travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, 2X points on general travel and 1X points on everything else. Plus, your points can be transferred 1:1 to many leading travel loyalty programs for airlines and hotels.
The Sapphire Preferred has a $95 annual fee, making this card easy to offset with its rewards structure. By simply spending $132 per month across its 3X categories, the annual fee will be covered. There’s no foreign transaction fees and a 25 percent value boost for your points when redeemed for travel via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
But where the Sapphire Preferred Card shines most: On every account anniversary, you’ll receive a 10 percent points match and $50 in statement credits for hotel stays purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Plus, you can earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months from opening your account, which translates to $1,000 worth of travel rewards when redeemed through the Ultimate Rewards portal.
U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card: Best for fast food
The U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card is perfect for those who want a high rewards rate but don’t want to pay a premium for the privilege. With this card, you select two spending categories in which you’ll earn 5 percent cash back (on your first $2,000 in combined eligible purchases each quarter, then 1 percent).
Aside from streaming services, other categories to choose from include gyms and fitness centers, cellphone providers, home utilities and more. Account holders can also choose one category — restaurants, gas stations or grocery stores — to earn 2 percent cash back.
Other benefits include 5 percent back on prepaid airfare, hotel stays and car rentals through the Rewards Travel Center and 1 percent back on all other purchases. New cardholders can earn a $200 reward bonus after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 120 days of account ownership.
The main selling point to the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card is its flexible cash back rewards program. Cardholders have the option of choosing two spending categories that will earn them 5 percent cash back each quarter. Additionally, cardholders can redeem cash back for a statement credit, a U.S. Bank Rewards Card or cash deposited into your U.S. Bank checking or savings account. Surprisingly, this card comes with no annual fee.
The Platinum Card from American Express: Best for luxury travelers
The Platinum Card® from American Express is the one card on this list for those who truly have premium tastes and spending habits because the annual fee is a hefty $695. That being said, the value of the credits and benefits offered here more than make up for what you spend.
Streaming service benefits come in the form of up to $240 in digital entertainment credits annually (up to $20 in total statement credits per month) for any one or more subscriptions to Audible, Peacock, The New York Times and Sirius XM.
Though the streaming services that count toward the credit are limited, there are a boatload of high-value benefits (providing around $1,400 in value annually) that more than make up for it. These benefits include 5X points on up to $500,000 spent on airfare, flights and prepaid hotels booked directly through American Express Travel (per calendar year), 2X points on prepaid car rentals through American Express Travel and 1X points on all other purchases.
New cardholders can earn 100,000 Membership Reward points after spending $6,000 in the first six months of card membership. However, this card truly shines when it comes to American Express card benefits and annual reimbursements. Cardholders have access to premium perks such as extensive airport lounge access, annual travel credits, elite hotel status deals, comprehensive travel protections and much more.
While the Platinum Card from American Express offers extensive travel benefits and lounge access, its steep annual fee and limited bonus category coverage doesn’t make sense for your average consumer. (Especially if you are solely looking for streaming coverage). Luckily, the long list of benefits are worth well over $1,400 and can easily cover the annual fee. However, that won’t be possible if you aren’t willing to take full advantage of the Platinum Card’s features — and then some.
Citi Custom Cash Card: Best for customizable rewards
Citi’s no-annual-fee Custom Cash Card earns 5 percent cash back on up to $500 (then 1 percent back) of purchases in your top eligible spending category each billing cycle, plus 1 percent on all other purchases. Cardholders can earn based on the following categories: select streaming services, restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel, select transit and more.
With the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card, cardholders don’t have to activate the categories in order to earn 5 percent back because you’ll automatically earn that rate on whichever eligible spending category you spent the most in. If you spend a significant amount of your budget on streaming services, and in this case the most, this card makes it easy to maximize your return each month.
Currently, streaming services that qualify include Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, ESPN+, HBO Max, Netflix, Showtime, Sling TV, Spotify, Vudu, YouTube TV and more.
In most cases, the Citi Custom Cash Card makes sense as a secondary credit card in most wallets. If you can manage to pay all of your main subscriptions in one billing cycle, you could earn 5 percent back on a wider variety of purchases across the year’s billing cycles.
Lastly, new cardholders can earn 20,000 ThankYou points (worth $200 in cash back) after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first six months and enjoy a 0 percent intro APR for 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers (16.24 percent to 26.24 percent variable APR after).
Is a card that rewards streaming services right for you?
Your streaming subscription isn’t likely to break the bank, but if you’re subscribed to multiple streaming services, those costs do add up. A credit card that offers rewards for streaming subscriptions is at its best when the cost of at least one of your subscriptions is exceeded by the cash back received.
For example, the Amex Platinum offers up to $20 per month in reimbursement for eligible streaming services like Peacock and Audible. Peacock costs $4.99 per month, while Audible costs $14.95 per month, which together adds up to $19.94 — a price that’s fully covered by the $20 in statement credits provided by the Amex Platinum. You’re essentially getting two streaming services for free just for having this credit card.
Streaming service cash back is not enough to carry the day on a rewards card, but when looking for a card with streaming rewards, choose one with a plethora of other benefits that make the card (and its annual fee) worthwhile. For example, in addition to the up to $240 in annual digital entertainment statement credits, the Amex Platinum offers plenty of additional credits and benefits that allow you to easily get your money’s worth.
How to choose a card that rewards streaming services
In addition to making sure the credit card you select rewards the streaming services you actually subscribe to, look for cards with more common reward categories like travel, dining, gas and groceries. This way points or cash back are a little easier to earn and they go toward something more than just a $20 streaming subscription.
The bottom line
With streaming taking over the TV entertainment landscape, streaming rewards on credit cards are only going to get more popular. Just be sure there are additional benefits to cover an occasionally steep annual fee, and you should never have to pay for a streaming service again.