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Save on Netflix, Amazon Video, HBO and Spotify with these cord-cutter credit cards

Apple Card, American Express Blue Cash, Amazon Prime Visa and Uber Visa all offer cash back on streaming. It's basically found money. Here's how you can claim it.

04-credit-card-streaming

The right credit card could help save you money on your streaming bill. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

As streaming TV grows in popularity, every additional subscription hurts your wallet. 

Thirteen bucks for Netflix here, six bucks for Hulu there and 15 more for HBO -- assuming you don't cancel now that Game of Thrones is kaput -- can really add up. And with new services like Disney PlusWarnerMedia and Apple TV Plus coming soon, cord cutters have more reasons to spend another few dollars every month.

One great way to save is to simply change the credit card you use to pay for streaming. The savings come in the form of cash back, which is basically found money every time you're charged for a subscription.

The Apple Card (coming this summer), Amazon Prime Visa, American Express' Blue Cash Preferred and Uber Visa all offer cash back on select streaming video and music services. Here's how they stack up.

Four cord cutter cards compared


American Express Blue Cash Preferred Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Apple Card Uber Visa
Annual fee $95 None None None
Streaming offer 6% cash back on select streaming services 5% cash back on Amazon Prime purchases, including Prime Video Channels 3% cash back on Apple purchases, including Apple TV Channels and subscriptions made through iTunes 2% back on all online shopping, including streaming services

Which one is best for me?

The more eligible subscriptions you have, the more you save, but how much depends on where you pay for them. Some cards don't offer any cash back on certain services -- there's no 5% Netflix discount through the Amazon Prime card, for example. In those cases, the services pick up the card's regular 1% cash back. 

  • The Amex Blue Cash card is the most versatile since it works with nearly every major streaming service (including Netflix), and its 6% cash back is the highest of the four. To realize the savings, however, you have to overcome its $95 annual fee. Doing so is easier if you're paying for a lot of subscriptions, especially expensive ones like live TV streaming.
  • To maximize savings using the Amazon Prime card's 5% cash back, you'll need to subscribe to services like HBO, Starz and MLB TV via Amazon Prime Video Channels. While you need to be a Prime member, you do get 5% back on that $119 yearly charge if you pay for it with this card. 
  • To maximize savings using the Apple Card's 3% cash back, you need to subscribe to Apple's services (like Apple Music and iCloud) as well as HBO, Showtime and others via the Apple TV app's new channels feature
  • Among cards with no annual fee, the Uber card's 2% cash back applies to numerous services with no need for "channels" subscriptions, making it a solid choice as an "everyday" online purchases card. But its 2% reward makes it harder to rack up savings.

You choice in card also depends on what else you buy beyond streaming services.

The American Express card offers 6% cash back on groceries and 3% on gas, for example, which can go a long way toward offsetting that annual fee. Amazon Prime members who are frequent shoppers on Amazon.com will likely benefit by using the Prime card and switching services like HBO or Showtime to Prime Video channels. The same goes for those who are happy in Apple's system and use Apple Music and iCloud, and don't mind paying for HBO, Showtime or Starz through Apple TV. 

Here's more details on all four cards we compared.

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American Express Blue Cash Preferred 

american-express-blue-cash-preferred-at-home-headline

American Express' Blue Cash Preferred offers 6% cash back on "select" streaming services. 

American Express

An update earlier this month to Amex's $95 annual card added a new perk beyond 6% cash back at US supermarkets (up to $6,000) and 3% back on transit (including gas stations, ride shares, public transportation and parking): 6% cash back on "select US streaming subscriptions." 

Many of the most popular streaming video services are eligible, including HBO Now, Netflix, Hulu, Showtime and Prime Video, as well as live TV from DirecTV Now, Sling TV, Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV. 

Meanwhile, music streamers including Amazon Music, Apple Music, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Pandora and YouTube Music Premium are eligible too, as well as sports streamers ESPN+, MLB.TV, NBA League Pass and NHL.TV and even Amazon's Kindle Unlimited. 

Subscriptions not on American Express' list, such as Amazon Prime, iCloud and PlayStation Vue, are not eligible for the boosted cash back.  

Though 6% doesn't sound like much, if you're paying $12.99 per month for Netflix, $9.99 for Spotify Premium and $14.99 for HBO Now, a simple switch of the card could bring back over $27 per year. 

The savings are even more pronounced if you use a streaming TV service like YouTube TV or DirecTV Now, each of which starts at roughly $50 per month. Assuming you pay for one of those and Spotify, you'd save over $43 per year. 

While this doesn't cover the $95 annual fee, it also is not factoring in the other Amex perks for saving on groceries and transit. New users will also get $250 back if they spend $1,000 on the new card in the first three months. 

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature

amazon-prime-visa

Amazon's Prime Rewards Visa Signature card. 

Amazon

Amazon's Prime Visa has no annual fee for the card and offers 5% cashback on all purchases made on Amazon for Prime members. This works on not just the annual Prime membership fee ($119 per year) but also will give 5% back on Prime Video Channels -- Amazon's service that lets you subscribe directly to services like HBO, Showtime, Starz, CBS All Access, MLB.TV and about 100 others.

Though this group excludes heavy hitters like Netflix and Spotify, assuming you already pay for Amazon Prime, the lack of an annual fee makes its savings potential that much greater. 

The Prime Video Channel prices for HBO ($14.99 per month), Starz ($8.99) and Showtime ($10.99) are the same as for standalone apps like HBO Now and in line with what's offered from cable companies. If you pay for Prime and HBO, for example, doing it through Amazon saves you roughly $14.94 per year -- nearly enough for one month of HBO. 

And remember, all other purchases from Amazon or Whole Foods can earn you 5% cash back, with 2% back at gas stations, restaurants and drugstores. 

Amazon also includes a $70 gift card upon approval.

Apple Card (coming this summer)

apple card

Apple Card is due to come out this summer.

Screenshot by Katie Conner/CBS Interactive

Like Amazon, Apple will give 3% cash back for purchases made directly from Apple. This includes purchases made at a physical Apple Store, Apple's website, Apple Music, iCloud subscriptions, app purchases, in-app purchases, iTunes and more. 

Apple confirmed to CNET that the Apple Card also pays cash back on Apple TV channels. Similar to Amazon Prime Video Channels, Apple TV channels include HBO, Showtime, Starz and more, which the services available inside the Apple TV app for iOS, Apple TV and certain new Samsung TVs -- as well as other platforms including Roku and Amazon Fire TV coming soon. 

The pricing for those services is often the same as it would be elsewhere, so subscribing to the HBO, Showtime and Starz Apple TV channels saves you $12.60 per year. 

YouTube TV is one notable exception, with the cost running $55 per month for a subscription made from an iOS device and $50 per month if you sign up elsewhere (Apple takes a cut on subscriptions made through iOS apps). 

Apple Card doesn't have an annual fee and the cash back is daily, as opposed to monthly like traditional credit cards. Purchases made with Apple Pay also get you 2% cash back.

The caveats for Apple Card: You'll need an iPhone and the card isn't available until the summer. 

Uber Visa 

uber-visa-card

Uber's Visa card. 

Uber

Offering 2% back on online shopping, Uber's branded credit card is yet another option for those looking to save on streaming without signing up for a card with an annual fee. 

Netflix, HBO Now, DirecTV Now are some of the video services eligible for the boosted cash back, as are subscriptions to Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Pandora and Sirius XM. 

In addition to streaming discounts, Uber's card will also offer 2% back on online shopping from retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart; online services like Instracart, Shyp or Angie's List; digital stores like iTunes and Google Play as well as ride-sharing apps like Uber. 

Other perks for the card include 4% back on dining (including UberEats) and 3% back on hotel and airfare. If you spend $500 in the first 90 days you also will get $100. 

No matter what card you choose, the good news is there are plenty of new options to help you save money on streaming.