Paramount+ has always been easy to get for free if you know where to look, but now it’s getting a little bit trickier.
To drum up new subscribers, Paramount+ regularly hands out codes for a free month of service. These codes have worked for both new and returning subscribers, and you can even cancel shortly after signing up to avoid being auto-billed when the free trial expires. By repeating this process every month, it’s been possible to avoid paying for Paramount+ entirely.
Sometime in the last week, however, Paramount+ changed its sign-up flow, so it’s no longer clear if you’re getting a free month. Even curiouser, some users haven’t been able to redeem the codes without signing out of their accounts, then signing back in again. All this makes me wonder if Paramount’s preparing to close the free subscription loophole for good.
Free Paramount+: The old method
Just to recap, here’s how the Paramount+ code redemption process has worked in the past:
Note that you won’t see any confirmation of the one-month trial before you sign up. For new subscribers, a message at the top of the screen will still mention a one-week trial, even after entering the coupon code.
But once you confirm the subscription, you can head to the Paramount+ account page and check the billing info at the top of the page to make sure you’re getting a month for free. Cancelling the subscription at this point will still get you the full one-month trial, but you won’t get automatically billed at the end.
As before, this only works for new and returning subscribers. If you already have an active Paramount+ subscription, you’ll need to cancel and wait for the subscription to expire before trying to sign back up again with a promo code.
How long will it last?
A few years ago, a CBS All Access spokesperson told me that the coupon codes are good for business, with many new subscribers staying on board even after the trial period. That may explain why the service has stuck with this strategy for so long, even through its rebranding to Paramount+.
Still, the wheels do seem to be coming off now. The new checkout flow will be confusing to new and returning subscribers alike, and I’ve heard from one reader who received a “promotional code is valid for new subscriptions only” message while trying to reactivate her subscription. The only way to bypass that message was to sign out and sign back in again.
Jared Newman has been helping folks make sense of technology for over a decade, writing for PCWorld, TechHive, and elsewhere. He also publishes two newsletters, Advisorator for straightforward tech advice and Cord Cutter Weekly for saving money on TV service.