Never pay for CBS All Access

At the risk of giving the game away, I will let you all in on a little secret: I’ve been getting CBS All Access since the spring without paying a penny.

Every month—or sometimes more than once a month—ViacomCBS has been issuing coupon codes for a free month of its streaming service. The codes are valid even if you’ve redeemed one before, and they apply to either the $6-per-month ad-supported version or the $10-per-month ad-free version of CBS All Access.

This month’s coupon code, for instance, is FALL. Last month, it was FOOTBALL (or KICKOFF). Before that, it was STREAMMORE, and before that it was MORE (or PLAY). I’ve personally been redeeming these coupon codes since the spring, and the website Doctor of Credit has been updating a list of valid codes since last November.

All of which is to say that you should not be paying for CBS All Access right now. (One exception: If you also want Apple TV+ and Showtime year-round, it’s cheaper to bundle them all together.) While I assume that the giveaways will eventually end, you might as well enjoy them while they last.

A modified cancellation trick

The catch with these free CBS All Access subscriptions, of course, is that you must link a credit card to your account during sign-up, and unless you cancel before the end of the free trial month, you’ll be billed for the next month of service automatically.

cbsallaccessfree Jared Newman / IDG

CBS All Access coupons can be used with both the ad-free and ad-supported versions of the service, even if you’ve redeemed a code before.

Fortunately, you can avoid auto-billing with a modified version of the old immediate streaming service cancellation trick.

As I wrote back in May 2019, most streaming services allow you to cancel right after signing up for a free trial. You’ll still get to enjoy the trial, but won’t get billed at the end.

This doesn’t exactly work with CBS All Access, which ends the trial immediately if you cancel right after redeeming the free month. (I learned this the hard way over the summer.) Instead, you’ll want to cancel at least one day after signing up to ensure that the full month kicks in.