$20 can go a long way.
Back in July 2021, Amex revamped the benefits on the consumer Amex Platinum card, increasing the annual fee in the process. One of the new benefits they added at that time was a $20 per month Digital Entertainment Credit which could be used for a number of subscription services.
The lineup of eligible services has changed since it was first launched; at the time of publishing this post the current lineup is as follows:
- New York Times
- Wall Street Journal
The most recent change to that lineup was that Audible was removed and the Wall Street Journal was added. However, it’s a different type of recent change that’s caused me to reevaluate how we redeem our credits.
How We Redeem Amex Platinum Digital Entertainment Credits
My wife and I each have an Amex Platinum card and so we have two sets of $20 credits to use each month. Up until this past week, on one card we’d charged a $17 New York Times subscription and a $5.99 Peacock subscription and a $19.99 Disney Bundle Trio Premium (Disney+ / ESPN+ / Hulu) on the other. That meant we were still paying $2.99 out of pocket for the NYT/Peacock combo as that totals $22.99 per month.
That was until Disney announced that it was increasing how much it charges for its various bundles. Our Disney Bundle Trio Premium would be increasing in price to $24.99 in October 2023 and that’s just not worth it for us. While it’s nice to have Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu, I didn’t want to have to pay an extra $4.99 per month in addition to effectively paying the other $20 per month via the Amex Platinum card’s annual fee.
Thankfully there are alternatives. That soon-to-be $24.99 subscription is a no-ads bundle, but they have a version with ads that only costs $14.99 per month. I’d considered the Disney+/Hulu Duo Premium (i.e. ad-free) bundle as that was $19.99, but having ESPN+ included too is worth it to me as that has some English soccer games that aren’t available elsewhere. When researching it the other day, it looks like they also have some cricket matches too which I hadn’t realized up until now and so I’ll need to keep a better eye on which games are available on there.
With that Disney Bundle Trio Basic package coming in at $14.99 per month, that gives us $5.01 to play with, thereby meaning we can potentially subscribe to an additional service. Seeing as we’ve been paying $2.99 out of pocket on the card with the NYT/Peacock combo, I’ve decided to rejig things to minimize our out of pocket costs. Our new lineup will now be as follows:
- Platinum card 1
- New York Times – $17 per month
- Wall Street Journal – $4 per month (for the first year)
- Total cost – $21 per month (i.e. $1 per month out of pocket)
- Platinum card 2
- Disney Bundle Trio Basic – $14.99 per month
- Peacock – $5.99 per month
- Total cost – $20.98 per month (i.e. $0.98 per month out of pocket)
We’ll therefore be dropping from $2.99 out of pocket to $1.98 per month, while also gaining a Wall Street Journal subscription. While I’m not overly fussed about the WSJ subscription, there have been times I’ve wanted to click through to one of their articles from Google News or elsewhere and hit a paywall, so it’ll be nice not having to work out other methods for trying to access those articles and only have to pay $12 over the course of the year for that privilege. After the first year, I’ll cancel the WSJ subscription.
Quick Reminder: Enroll For This Benefit
Something important to be aware of is that you have to enroll in the Digital Entertainment Credit to get the statement credits, otherwise you’ll be paying for these services with your Amex Platinum card and not getting anything back.
You can enroll in the benefit here or by logging in to your Amex Platinum account and going to Rewards & Benefits > Benefits when your consumer Platinum card is selected.
4 Weekly Vs Monthly
Some of these subscription services charge for your subscription every four weeks rather than on the same date each month. The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal are two, but there might be more as I don’t know how that works with services I don’t subscribe to like SiriusXM.
That’s unfortunate because it means that there are some months where you’ll be charged in the first few days of the month and then again at the end of the month. If you’ve had a New York Times subscription for more than a year and so are being charged $17 per month, that means you’ll be charged a total of $34 within the same month, on top of any other service you might be subscribed to in order to benefit from the other $3 each month. In those months that means your out of pocket cost will be at least $14.
Some of these services offer discounted pricing for the first year, with the price jumping after that time. Be sure to set a reminder to cancel the service at the end of the subscription year if you don’t want to pay the higher rate at renewal.
It might be possible to then resubscribe to the service by setting up a new account with them in order to obtain the discounted pricing. If you have two or more Amex Platinum cards in your household, you could cancel the service on one card, then resubscribe using a different email address and with the other Platinum card (or possibly even the same card). After a year, you could switch back. Doing this will mean you lose preferences, saved items, etc., so it’s up to you if this is worth the hassle or not as well as whether you’re comfortable gaming the system in this way.
Get Paramount+ Through Other Means
While we’re on the subject of subscription and streaming services, Paramount+ is another subscription you can get indirectly courtesy of the consumer Amex Platinum card. That’s because the card gives you a $12.95 statement credit when paying for a $12.95 monthly subscription to Walmart+. Walmart+ itself offers a free subscription to Paramount+ and so that’s how you can get it via the Platinum card.
Earn More Through Shopping Portals
Many of these subscription services have affiliate programs. That means that when initially signing up for them you can earn cashback or rewards through a shopping portal. The payouts can change, so check out the latest rates by clicking through to Cashback Monitor below:
- Disney+ – here and here
- ESPN+ – here and here
- Hulu – here
- The New York Times – N/A
- Peacock – here
- SiriusXM – here and here
- The Wall Street Journal – here
Different Pricing Options For The Digital Entertainment Credit
Each of these seven subscription services have different pricing levels depending on different bundles you can subscribe to, various access levels, whether or not you’re willing to see ads, paying monthly vs annually, etc. Here’s a list of the different pricing options for each service as of September 2023; let us know in the comments below if you spot any of these prices changing in the future.
Please note that all the pricing amounts listed below are the monthly costs. While you can often save more by paying annually versus monthly, the Amex Platinum credit only gives you $20 per month rather than $240 that can be used all at once.
n.b. Prices below are those that’ll be effective from October 2023
- Disney Bundle Trio Premium (Disney+, Hulu & ESPN+ no ads) – $24.99
- Legacy Disney Bundle (Disney+ (No Ads), Hulu (With Ads), and ESPN+ (With Ads) – available for grandfathered in customers only) – $18.99
- Disney Bundle Trio Basic (Disney+, Hulu & ESPN+ with ads) – $14.99
- Disney Bundle Duo Premium (Disney+ & Hulu no ads) – $19.99
- Disney Bundle Duo Basic (Disney+ & Hulu with ads) – $12.99
- Disney+ Premium (no ads) – $13.99
- Disney+ Basic (with ads) – $7.99
- $10.99 per month
- Hulu (no ads) – $14.99
- Hulu (with ads) – $7.99
Hulu has a number of plans where you can add live TV. Those start at $75.99 per month and so I won’t focus on those here. There’s a number of other add-ons available though:
- Disney (with ads – Available only to eligible Hulu subscribers who are directly billed by Hulu and do not already have the Disney Bundle, a standalone Disney+ subscription, or the ESPN+ Add-on.) – $2
- Max (formerly HBO Max) – $15.99
- Cinemax – $9.99
- SHOWTIME – $10.99
- STARZ – $9.99
The New York Times Pricing
- $4 every 4 weeks for the first year (digital access only)
- $17 every 4 weeks thereafter (digital access only)
Peacock TV Pricing
- Premium Plus (no ads, local NBC channel, watch offline) – $11.99
- Premium (limited ads) – $5.99
- Car Radio + Streaming Devices
- Platinum – 3 months for $1 then $23.99 per month
- Music & Entertainment – 3 months for $1 then $18.99 per month
- Music Showcase – 3 months for $1 then $13.99 per month
- Streaming Devices Only
- Platinum – 3 months for $1 then $10.99 per month
- Music & Entertainment – 3 months for $1 then $7.99 per month
- Music Showcase – 3 months for $1 then $4.99 per month
The Wall Street Journal Pricing
- The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s & MarketWatch digital bundle – $6 every 4 weeks for 1 year, $50 per month thereafter
- The Wall Street Journal digital only – $4 every 4 weeks for 1 year, $39 per month thereafter
Combos To Maximize The Amex Platinum Digital Entertainment Credit
Due to the fact that there are seven different subscription services with each one having 2-7 pricing levels along with some additional add-ons, there are all kinds of combos you can put together to maximize your credits. I won’t create a list of every single possibility as it would be far too long, but here are ideas for some popular combos:
New York Times (1st year only) + Disney Bundle Trio Basic – $18.99 per month
$4 every 4 weeks + $14.99 per month. This pricing would be effective for the first year; after that the NYT price would go up to $17 per month.
For the first year you’d pay $18.99 per month, although there might be one or two months where you’re charged $22.99 due to the 4 weekly quirk of the NYT subscription meaning you’d be billed twice within a month.
New York Times (after 1st year) + Wall Street Journal (1st year only) – $21 per month
After your first year of subscribing to the New York Times, you’ll be charged $17 every 4 weeks. To use up the remaining $3 per month, the lowest cost option will be to subscribe to the Wall Street Journal as they charge $4 every 4 weeks, thereby meaning you’ll pay $21 every 4 weeks (i.e. $1 extra).
As mentioned previously, both of these services charge on a 4-weekly basis and so there’ll be some months where you might be charged twice for one or both services.
Disney Bundle Trio Basic + Peacock TV Premium – $20.98 per month
The former gives you Disney+, Hulu & ESPN+ with ads for $14.99 per month, while the latter costs $5.99 per month. That’s a total of $20.98 per month, so $0.98 per month out of pocket.
Disney Bundle Duo Basic + Peacock TV Premium – $18.98 per month
If you don’t care about access to ESPN+, a way to eliminate your out of pocket costs would be to subscribe to the package that gives you Disney+ & Hulu with ads. That’s $12.99 per month, then Peacock TV is an additional $5.99.
Hulu (with ads) + Cinemax, SHOWTIME or STARZ – $17.98 or $18.98 per month
You can subscribe to Hulu standalone rather than needing to do it in conjunction with Disney+. If doing that, you could add Cinemax, SHOWTIME or STARZ for $9.99 or $10.99 per month extra, still putting you below the $20 threshold.
Disney Bundle Trio Basic + SiriusXM Music Showcase (Streaming only) – $19.98 per month
The cost for the first three months would be lower as SiriusXM Music Showcase only costs $1 for the first three months, but after that you’d be able to stay $0.02 under the $20 credit.
Hulu (with ads) + SiriusXM Platinum (Streaming only) – $18.98 per month
The former costs $7.99 per month and the latter is $10.99 per month after the first three months.
Two Player: Disney Bundle Duo Basic + Peacock TV Premium & New York Times (1st year) + Wall Street Journal (1st year) + SiriusXM Platinum (Streaming only) – $18.98 + $18.99 per month
If two people in your household have a Platinum card, there’s a way to subscribe to every service with the exception of ESPN+. On one person’s card you can charge the Disney Bundle Duo Basic package which gives Disney+ and Hulu with ads for $12.99 per month along with Peacock TV Premium for $5.99 per month for a total of $18.98.
The other cardholder could then charge subscriptions for The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the Platinum package of SiriusXM for $18.99 per month. There are a couple of caveats with this second lineup though. First, this would only be valid for the first year as both the NYT and WSJ only charge $4 every 4 weeks for the first year. The second is that the 4-weekly billing means there might be one or two months where one or both of those subscriptions gets charged twice in a month.
Those are some of my suggestions for how to maximize the consumer Amex Platinum’s Digital Entertainment Credit, but there are many other options. What combo of services do you subscribe to? Let us know in the comments below.