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How to gift a streaming service this holiday season



This story is part of Christmas gift guide 2020, CNET’s gift choice with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family.

Shopping for the holidays is looking a little different this year, as do the types of gifts your family and friends may like as we all cling to winter ahead. But if there’s one gift that’s almost a guaranteed hit this year: a subscription to a streaming service.

That may mean registering your loved one Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Spotify, Apple Music or one of the growing list of others available for the first time, or it may mean paying for part of their existing subscription. Either way, a TV, movie, or music streaming service makes a great quarantine-friendly gift. And it̵

7;s one you can enjoy more and more, with features and extensions like Teleparty (formerly Netflix Party), Disney Plus GroupWatch and Amazon Prime Video Watch Party that let you watch and chat together from afar.

Here’s how to gift each of the major TV and movie streaming services this year.

Read more: Best TV and Streamer Gifts for the Holidays

Angela Lang / CNET

Netflix offers gift cards that can be used for creating a new account or someone’s existing account. But you can’t buy them through Netflix itself. Instead, you can find the gift cards online at Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Target, NewEgg and Kroger, or in-store at Walmart, Target, Best Buy, CVS, Walgreens, Kroger, 7-Eleven, Dollar General, and Safeway.

Gift card amounts range from $ 25 to $ 200, with different options on different sites (Amazon has all of them, though). For reference, Netflix plans range from $ 9 to $ 18 per month, depending on how many screens you want to watch on at the same time and whether you want HD. If you buy online, some sites allow you to send it via email.

The recipient can redeem their gift card on the Netflix website and the amount will be credited to their account as a gift balance. Netflix will notify them before the balance runs out.

We have more information about how Netflix gift cards work here. You can also read our Netflix review.

Angela Lang / CNET

If you’re looking for a great gift for someone with kids (or an adult who loves Star Wars, Marvel, and Baby Yoda), Disney Plus lets you gift a year subscription for $ 70 (it usually costs $ 7 a month, so this will save you $ 14 per year). After the year is up, the recipient has the option to add their own payment information and continue subscribing.

To purchase a gift plan, visit the Disney Plus website. When making the purchase, provide an email address for the recipient, choose a delivery date, and write a message. On the day you choose, the recipient will receive an email with instructions on how to redeem their gift.

One limitation here is that the person receiving the gift subscription must be a new subscriber or willing to open a new account. It is also only available to US subscribers.

Learn more about how to gift Disney Plus here. You can also read our Disney Plus review.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Like Netflix, Hulu offers gift cards that you can purchase online or in person through a variety of retailers, including Target, Walmart, Best Buy, Kroger, and Paypal. Gift card amounts range from $ 25 to $ 100, depending on where you buy. Hulu costs $ 6 per month to subscribe to the ad-supported version, $ 12 per month to go ad-free, or $ 55 per month for Hulu Plus Live TV. The various retailers also offer choices between email delivery and a physical card.

The recipient can redeem their gift card on Hulu.com or, if they already have an account, through their account page on the app or website. If they are a new subscriber, their account will be canceled after the gift card balance has increased unless they enter another payment method.

Read our Hulu review for more information.

Angela Lang / CNET

Amazon currently doesn’t allow you to gift a monthly Prime Video membership, which on its own costs $ 8 per month (and is already included in the cost of a Prime membership, which is $ 119 per year or $ 13 per month). month). However, if you want to gift a Prime membership in its entirety, including Prime Video, you can buy someone a year of Prime for $ 119, or three months for $ 39, plus taxes. That’s more than enough time for them to discuss Jack Ryan and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel to binge, and try out all the other Prime perks like fast free Amazon delivery and music streaming.

To give someone a Prime subscription, go to Amazon.com/giftprime. You will be asked to log into your own Amazon account if you haven’t already, and choose whether you want the option for a year or three months. At checkout, enter the recipient’s email address, the date you’d like it delivered, and a note.

For more information, read our Amazon Prime Video review.

Erin Carson / CNET

Give the music (or podcast) fan in your life a Spotify gift card. You can purchase electronic gift cards (delivered by email) online from Target, NewEgg, Kroger, and PayPal. You can also purchase a physical Spotify gift card online from Amazon or Best Buy, or in-store at Walmart, Target, Staples, CVS, 7 Eleven, Kroger, and Simon Malls. They come in amounts of $ 10, $ 30, $ 60, or $ 99. For context, an individual Spotify Premium subscription costs $ 10 per month.

The only downside is that Spotify gift cards are only for Premium Individual plans – you can’t use them for Premium Student, Premium Family, Premium Duo, or trial offers (learn how all Spotify Premium plans compare here).

Learn more about giving and redeeming Spotify gift cards here.

Angela Lang / CNET

Like Spotify, you can’t gift a subscription to Apple Music, but you can give an Apple gift card that someone can apply to their account to sign up.

Send an electronic gift card (delivered by email) so that the recipient can redeem the amount on the card to their Apple ID balance. They can then use that money for an Apple Music subscription or for apps, games, iCloud storage or for music and movie purchases.

If you are an Apple user, you can send an electronic gift card by opening the App Store app on your iPhone or iPad, signing in and going to your account. Tap Send gift card by email, enter the recipient’s email address, add a message and choose how much to send (you can adjust any amount). You can send the gift that day or schedule it for another day.

Or you can purchase electronic or physical gift cards from Apple’s website. You can also find them online or in person at Best Buy, Target, Walmart, and many other stores.

To learn more, read our Apple Music vs Spotify comparison.

What about HBO Max?

While HBO offered gift cards for HBO Now, it appears they have been discontinued with the launch of HBO Max (although you can still use it for a Max subscription if you already have one). Unfortunately, if you want to give the gift of HBO Max, you will probably need to provide a prepaid debit card that the recipient can use for a subscription, or something else.

Looking for more gift ideas? Check out CNET’s collection of Christmas gifts, including the best Christmas gifts under $ 30, and the best Black Friday deals available now and soon.


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