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Signing up for HBO Max? Use one of these cards as your payment method

Watching your favorite TV show feels even better when you’re earning rewards


If you’re considering signing up for the new HBO Max streaming service, check if you have one of these cards to earn rewards on your subscription.

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On May 27, 2020, HBO launched a new streaming subscription service called HBO Max.

The network that’s given us cult classics like “The Sopranos” and “The Wire” introduced a new platform with more than 10,000 hours of binge-worthy content.

Subscribers can enjoy more than 2,000 movies and well-loved TV shows such as “Friends” and “The Big Bang Theory,” plus HBO Max original series – all from the comfort of their TVs, computers, game consoles and mobiles or tablets. Members get exclusive access to the highly anticipated “Space Jam” sequel, “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” starring NBA star Lebron James.

The subscription costs $14.99 per month, which is more than the majority of other streaming services. Luckily, if you have a right rewards credit card, you can earn rewards while paying for the service – or cover the costs altogether.

See related: Getting a Disney+ subscription? Pay with one of these cards

Best cards for HBO Max

There are a few cards that let you earn rewards for streaming services, but only American Express, Discover and Citi have added HBO Max to their lists of qualifying purchases so far.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Streaming service benefits

  • 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions

As you can see, with the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card you can get a generous rewards rate on your streaming subscriptions.

For example, if you pay for HBO Max with the card, you can earn about $11 in cash back after a year of using the service. While it might not seem like much, the rewards add up quickly when you consider that the Blue Cash Preferred also offers 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1%), 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit and 1% cash back on general purchases.

Discover it® Cash Back

Streaming service benefits

  • Enroll every quarter to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in various categories throughout the year

The Discover it Cash Back card offers rotating quarterly cash back categories throughout the year where you can enroll to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 on qualifying purchases (then 1%) and 1% on all other purchases. In the past, one of these categories has been cash back on select streaming services like HBO Max, among others.

Discover updates its 5% cash back calendar each year, so it’s worth checking to see if the category is offered again next year. But it’s important to note bundled services or those paid through a third-party may not be eligible for the category.

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

Streaming service benefits

  • 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter

With the Citi Custom Cash card, you can earn a decent amount of cash back when you use it to pay for categories including select streaming services such as HBO Max. Plus, this card is a good option for a no-annual-fee cash back credit card. The card lets you earn 5% cash back in the category you spend the most in each billing cycle (on up to $500 in purchases, 1% thereafter).

If you’re strategic with your spending, you can pay off a year’s worth of streaming services in one month so your rewards rate can swap for another cash back category (like restaurants or gas stations) the next month.

Other cards to consider

You can also earn rewards on HBO Max if you have a U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card or U.S. Bank Altitude Go Card. A spokesperson from U.S Bank confirmed HBO Max is now included in its streaming category and added to their merchant list.

Should you get a rewards credit card to pay for HBO Max?

While being able to rack up rewards on streaming services is a nice perk, it shouldn’t be the sole reason to apply for a rewards credit card.

For example, if you’re considering the Amex Blue Cash Preferred to pay for HBO Max, make sure the rewards it offers align with your spending habits. Like the majority of rewards credit cards, it comes with an annual fee ($0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95), so you’ll need to break even before you start seeing the earnings.

On the other hand, you can always apply for a flat rate cash back credit card. While the cash back rate on these cards might not be as high, you can be sure you earn rewards on every purchase. For instance, the Citi Double Cash® Card offers up to 2% cash back – 1% when you buy and an additional 1% when you pay off your purchases – and has no annual fee for you to worry about.

Bottom line

If you have the right credit card, you can earn rewards while binging your favorite TV show with a new HBO Max subscription.

Whether it’s a flat rate cash back card or a rewards card that includes HBO Max in its qualifying list, make sure to use it when choosing a payment method before you sink into your couch to watch your favorite show.

All information about the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature Card and U.S. Bank Altitude Go Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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