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Best credit cards for streaming services of December 2019

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Whether you binge watch the latest season of your favorite show in one sitting or stream movies, you likely pay for at least one streaming subscription.

And every week there seems to be a new streaming service available to consumers, with the recent launch of Apple TV+ and Disney+, not to mention mainstays such as Netflix and Hulu. The cost of all these streaming subscriptions can add up, but if you use the right rewards credit card, you can earn cash back or points that can help offset some of the price of streaming your favorite content.

There are hundreds of cards available, all offering a wide range of perks, which can make it hard to find the best card for streaming services. To help you find the right card, we narrowed down 111 popular rewards cards to those that offer bonus rewards for streaming subscriptions. (See our methodology for more information on how we choose the best cards.)

Here are CNBC Select's picks for the top credit cards for streaming service rewards, ranked from highest to lowest rewards rate on eligible streaming services.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

  • Rewards

    6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations, 3% cash back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more and 1% cash back on other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    $250 after you spend $1,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Intro APR

    0% APR for the first 12 months on purchases and balance transfers

  • Variable APR

    14.49% to 25.49%

  • Balance transfer fee

    3%, $5 minimum

  • Foreign transaction fee

    2.7%

  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year

    $691*

  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years

    $2,457

  • See rates and fees and our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Unlimited 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
  • High 6% cash back at U.S. supermarket spending (up to $6,000 a year, then 1%)
  • Unlimited 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit
  • Amex Offers, which provide statement credits at select merchants
  • A year of no interest on new purchases and balance transfers

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • 2.7% fee on purchases made abroad

Who's this for? If you prefer to Netflix and chill instead of going out on a Friday night, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express can earn you the most cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions at 6%.

There are 25 streaming subscriptions that qualify for 6% cash back, including popular services like Netflix, Hulu, Spotify and Prime Video Unlimited, as well as services that are typically not included among other cards, such as ESPN+, Audible and YouTube.

Who's this for? If you prefer to Netflix and chill instead of going out on a Friday night, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express can earn you the most cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions at 6%.

There are 25 streaming subscriptions that qualify for 6% cash back, including popular services like Netflix, Hulu, Spotify and Prime Video Unlimited, as well as services that are typically not included among other cards, such as ESPN+, Audible and YouTube.

Cardholders can also earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%), unlimited 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit-related purchases, such as tolls, parking, buses and rideshares, and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Additional perks include money-saving Amex Offers, which provide discounts and extra points at participating retailers. For example, right now if you spend $9.99 or more at Pandora.com, you get a $9.99 statement credit, through December 18. These limited-time offers are location-based and additional terms apply.

This card does come with a $95 annual fee, but it can be offset by the cash back you earn and discounts you can get through the Amex Offers.

*First year rewards total incorporates the points earned from the welcome bonus

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U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature®

  • Rewards

    5% cash back on two categories you choose quarterly (on your first $2,000 in combined eligible net purchases each quarter, then 1%); 2% cash back on one everyday category; 1% cash back on everything else

  • Welcome bonus

    $150 after you spend $500 within the first 90 days of account opening

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% APR for the first 12 billing cycles on balance transfers

  • Variable APR

    15.49% to 24.99%

  • Balance transfer fee

    3%, minimum $5

  • Foreign transaction fee

    2% to 3%

  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year

    $562*

  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years

    $2,212

  • See rates and fees and our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • High 5% cash back on select entertainment purchases, when you activate bonus categories
  • Low spending required to earn a good welcome bonus

Cons

  • 5% cash back is limited to $2,000 in combined purchases each quarter
  • Activation is required to earn 5% cash back
  • 2% to 3% foreign transaction fee

Who's this for? The U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® card offers the highest rewards rate on select entertainment purchases: 5% cash back. Cardholders can choose to earn 5% cash back on two bonus categories each quarter, on your first $2,000 in combined eligible net purchases, then 1%.

There are currently two entertainment-related categories that earn 5% cash back: movie theaters and TV, along with internet and streaming services, which includes 15 providers such as Comcast, Apple Music and Hulu. You can choose both categories every quarter to maximize cash back.

Who's this for? The U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® card offers the highest rewards rate on select entertainment purchases: 5% cash back. Cardholders can choose to earn 5% cash back on two bonus categories each quarter, on your first $2,000 in combined eligible net purchases, then 1%.

There are currently two entertainment-related categories that earn 5% cash back: movie theaters and TV, along with internet and streaming services, which includes 15 providers such as Comcast, Apple Music and Hulu. You can choose both categories every quarter to maximize cash back.

You also get 2% cash back on one everyday category, such as grocery stores or gas stations, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Cardholders can update their preferences every quarter, so you can change categories based on your needs.

This card also comes with no annual fee and a generous welcome bonus of $150 after you spend $500 within the first 90 days of account opening, which is like earning 30% cash back.

*First year rewards total incorporates the points earned from the welcome bonus

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Information about the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

  • Rewards

    5% cash back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market; 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores; 1% back on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    $70 Amazon.com gift card upon approval

  • Annual fee

    $0 (but Prime membership is required)

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Variable APR

    16.24% to 24.24%

  • Balance transfer fee

    5%, $5 minimum

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year

    $506*

  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years

    $2,253

  • See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • $70 Amazon.com gift card upon approval, with no spending requirements
  • 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.

Cons

  • Prime membership is required
  • The 5% back on groceries only applies to groceries bought on Amazon.com or at Whole Foods Market

Who's this for? Frequent shoppers on Amazon and at Whole Foods Market will want to look into the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card. All purchases made by Prime members at Amazon and Whole Foods Market get a robust 5% cash back. You can use this card to pay for your Prime membership (which includes Prime Video) and earn 5% cash back. This card also offers a $70 Amazon.com gift card upon approval as a one-time bonus.

In addition to the generous 5% cash back at those two retailers, the card gives users 2% back on purchases made at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores and 1% back on all other purchases. Take note that the only subscription service earning bonus rewards is Prime Video. All other streaming services earn 1% back.

Who's this for? Frequent shoppers on Amazon and at Whole Foods Market will want to look into the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card. All purchases made by Prime members at Amazon and Whole Foods Market get a robust 5% cash back. You can use this card to pay for your Prime membership (which includes Prime Video) and earn 5% cash back. This card also offers a $70 Amazon.com gift card upon approval as a one-time bonus.

In addition to the generous 5% cash back at those two retailers, the card gives users 2% back on purchases made at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores and 1% back on all other purchases. Take note that the only subscription service earning bonus rewards is Prime Video. All other streaming services earn 1% back.

As the name implies, you must have an eligible Prime membership to apply for this card ($119 for an annual membership and $12.99 for a monthly membership). If you don't, opt for the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card, which doesn't require a Prime membership and still offers 3% cash back at Amazon and Whole Foods.

*First year rewards total incorporates the points earned from the welcome bonus

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Information about the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

  • Rewards

    3X points on gas, dining out and ordering in; rideshares and transit; flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals; and popular streaming services; 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    30,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% APR for the first 12 months on purchases and balance transfers

  • Variable APR

    15.49% to 27.49%

  • Balance transfer fee

    3%, $5 minimum

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year

    $672*

  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years

    $2,159

  • See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Strong rewards program with 3X points in a wide range of categories
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.
  • No blackout dates on air travel when redeemed through Go Far Rewards

Cons

  • You must have a rewards balance of at least 2,500 points before you can start redeeming them
  • Balance transfers incur a 3% fee ($5 minimum)
  • American Express isn’t as widely accepted as Visa or Mastercard

Who's this for? The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card has a strong rewards program for a no annual fee card: Earn unlimited 3X points on gas, dining out and ordering in; rideshares and transit; flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals; and popular streaming services; plus 1X point on all other purchases.

This card is a smart choice for all types of travelers, whether you like to fly, drive or take mass-transit. And this card not only gives you 3X points at gas stations but also on purchases at toll bridges and highways, parking lots and garages. And you earn a competitive 3X points on restaurants and take out, which is great while you're traveling. When you're ready to relax, you can enjoy 3X points on select streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu.

Who's this for? The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card has a strong rewards program for a no annual fee card: Earn unlimited 3X points on gas, dining out and ordering in; rideshares and transit; flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals; and popular streaming services; plus 1X point on all other purchases.

This card is a smart choice for all types of travelers, whether you like to fly, drive or take mass-transit. And this card not only gives you 3X points at gas stations but also on purchases at toll bridges and highways, parking lots and garages. And you earn a competitive 3X points on restaurants and take out, which is great while you're traveling. When you're ready to relax, you can enjoy 3X points on select streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu.

Wells Fargo makes it easy to redeem points for cash, gift cards or travel. There are no black-out dates when you make reservations through Go Far Rewards, but you can't start redeeming points until you've earned 2,500.

In addition to rewards, this card offers no interest on purchases and balance transfers for a full year (then 15.49% to 27.49% variable APR). If you have large upcoming expenses or debt on a non-Amex card, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card provides a way to finance new and old debt without incurring interest charges. Balance transfers are charged a 3% fee, $5 minimum.

There's also cell phone protection for damage to or theft of your phone up to $600 per claim and $1,200 per 12-month period ($25 deductible applies and you must pay your bill with your Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card).

*First year rewards total incorporates the points earned from the welcome bonus

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Information about the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the cards prior to publication.

Citi Premier℠ Card

  • Rewards

    3X points on travel including gas stations, 2X points at restaurants and on entertainment, 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    60,000 bonus points after making $4,000 in purchases with your card within the first 3 months of account opening (worth $750 in airfare)

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Variable APR

    17.49% to 25.49%

  • Balance transfer fee

    3%, $5 minimum

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year

    $853*

  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years

    $2,100

  • See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Strong rewards program for everyday purchases, including 2X points on entertainment purchases
  • Points are worth 25% more on airfare when booked at thankyou.com
  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • No special financing offers

Who's this for? The Citi Premier℠ Card is a good option for frequent travelers, especially those who drive. This card offers 3X points on travel, which includes gas stations. It's hard to find a card that classifies gas station spending as travel, so this is a nice perk.

This card also earns 2X points at restaurants and on entertainment, which includes on-demand internet streaming media.

Who's this for? The Citi Premier℠ Card is a good option for frequent travelers, especially those who drive. This card offers 3X points on travel, which includes gas stations. It's hard to find a card that classifies gas station spending as travel, so this is a nice perk.

This card also earns 2X points at restaurants and on entertainment, which includes on-demand internet streaming media.

Cardholders get the best value when they redeem rewards for airfare through thankyou.com where points are worth 25% more. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 towards airfare.

This card does have a $95 annual fee. That's fairly reasonable, though there are other cards on this list offering more streaming services rewards with a lower or no annual fee.

*First year rewards total incorporates the points earned from the welcome bonus

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Information about the Citi Premier℠ Card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the cards prior to publication.

Our methodology

To determine which cards offer the best value, CNBC Select analyzed popular credit cards offered by the biggest banks, financial companies and credit unions that allow anyone to join and offer bonus rewards on streaming services. Bonus rewards means a cardholder earns at least 2% or 2 points per dollar in a given category. In this case, streaming services.

We compared each card on a range of features, including cash-back rewards, welcome bonus, introductory and standard APR, balance transfer fee and foreign transaction fees, as well as factors such as required credit score and customer reviews when available. We also considered additional perks, the application process and how easy it is for the consumer to redeem points.

CNBC Select teamed up with location intelligence firm Esri. The company's data development team provided the most up-to-date and comprehensive consumer spending data based on the 2018 Consumer Expenditure Surveys from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can read more about their methodology here.

Esri's data team created a sample annual budget of approximately $21,852 in retail spending. This budget is comprised of the most common spending categories, including groceries ($5,019), gas ($2,394), dining out ($3,365), travel ($2,154), utilities ($4,959) and general purchases ($3,961). General purchases include items such as housekeeping supplies, clothing, personal care products, prescription drugs and vitamins, and other vehicle expenses.

CNBC Select used this budget to estimate how much the average consumer would save over the course of a year, two years and five years, assuming they would attempt to maximize their rewards potential by earning all welcome bonuses offered and using the card for all applicable purchases. All rewards total estimations are net the annual fee.

It's important to note the value of a point or mile varies from card to card and based on how you redeem them. When we calculated the estimated returns, we assumed that cardholders are redeeming points/miles for a typical maximum value of 1 cent per point or mile. (Extreme optimizers might be able to achieve more value.)

Our final picks are weighted heavily toward the highest five-year returns, since it's generally wise to hold onto a credit card for years. This method also avoids giving an unfair advantage to cards with large welcome bonuses.

While the five-year estimates we've included are derived from a budget similar to the average American's spending, you may earn a higher or lower return depending on your spending habits.

Best credit cards for streaming services

Credit Card Estimated rewards earned after 5 years
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express$2,457
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card$2,253
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card$2,159
Citi Premier℠ Card$2,100
U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature®$2,212

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card, click here.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the CNBC Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.