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Savvy Saturday: This trick makes the Amex Platinum digital entertainment credit even less valuable

Oct. 16, 2021
5 min read
Savvy Saturday: This trick makes the Amex Platinum digital entertainment credit even less valuable
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Editor’s note: Some travel cards come with perplexing benefits that are tricky to maximize. This article is part of a series that shows you unique, fun and unintended ways to use your credit card benefits. If you’ve got any questions or have an example of a surprising way to maximize a credit card perk, tweet us @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at info@thepointsguy.com.


The Platinum Card® from American Express comes with a mildly infuriating annual statement credits of up to $240 toward "digital entertainment." In name, the credit sounds like a handy perk; between Spotify, Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, etc., many of us are paying a good $30+ per month to appease our appetite for media.

But the Amex Platinum digital entertainment credit is rather restrictive (I recommend reading Chris Dong's diplomatic take on the subject). See, this credit can only be used with four services:

  • Peacock
  • Audible
  • SiriusXM
  • The New York Times

To boot, the credit is doled out in $20 monthly increments. Enrollment required.

I've encountered very few readers or TPG staffers that can max out the credit based on their current entertainment subscriptions. But if you're one of the lucky few who is served by this monthly $20 stipend, I'll give you two reasons why it may be difficult to maximize, even for you.

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The secret: a simple library card

I reckon most would be surprised at the value living inside a library card. From streaming 30,000+ movies to receiving free museum passes, there's a whole lot this free civic membership can do to improve your life.

There are two specific things the Amex Platinum's digital entertainment credit gives you that a library card can do just as well.

1. The solution to Audible

Audible is an audiobook service provided by Amazon. Its barebones plan costs $7.95 per month. However, you won't have access to Audible's entire library with this plan; any title that doesn't tout an "INCLUDED" tag will cost you extra. A variety of premium memberships exist in which you can pay a higher monthly fee (starting at $14.95) and receive "credits" that can be redeemed toward any book — no matter how pricey. The Amex Platinum will cover the cost of this subscription for you, up to $20 per month.

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However, a library card offers access to an audiobook service called OverDrive. It sounds like a cheap knockoff, I know. But after downloading the app and entering my library credentials, I was astounded. I own dozens of books on Audible, some of which are incredibly obscure, and I could easily find them all on OverDrive.

In-app view of OverDrive. (Screenshot courtesy of Overdrive)

The big difference between the two services seems to be ownership. With Audible, you can purchase books. With OverDrive, you must "borrow" each book. There's a limited number of each audiobook, and two or three of my searches yielded an audiobook for which I had to wait until someone else "returned" it. You can join a waitlist with a click of a button — though it may be several weeks before you'll get access to your book of choice, depending on the size of the waitlist.

2. Access to The New York Times

The going rate for a digital subscription to The New York Times is $17 per month (though there is often a promotion or sale that dramatically lowers this price).

Purchasing a subscription to The New York Times will trigger the Amex Platinum digital entertainment credit. But many libraries provide free access to library cardholders. Here's an example of what my library membership gets me.

If you're using your Amex Platinum to read The New York Times, just know that you could probably be doing that for free, anyway.

Not all libraries offer this subscription (and some offer alternate/additional subscriptions, such as The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal). But any library network in a city of even moderate size should include this service. Even if you don't live in a big city, you can often get a card with its library as long as you live in the same state.

Also, note that if you're a student, you may be able to access The New York Times for free by clicking here.

Bottom line

The Amex Platinum digital entertainment credit offers a total monthly allotment of $20 ($240 per year) toward the following services:

  • Peacock
  • Audible
  • SiriusXM
  • The New York Times

Anyone can effectively get access to a viable Audible competitor and a subscription to The New York Times free of charge with a library card. In my mind, that makes this credit worth significantly less than its face value. However, if you spend $20 per month between SiriusXM and Peacock, be sure to use your Amex Platinum for those purchases and let your library card take care of the other two.

Featured image by Bloomberg via Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
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Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023