10 Ways to Get Free HBO

You'll likely have to meet specific requirements and even make certain purchases, but you can bag HBO for free for at least a little while.
HBO logo is seen on screen.

UPDATE: As of May 23, 2023, the name of HBO Max has officially been switched over to Max. Prices start at $9.99 per month for the ad-supported plan, while ad-free plans are available for $15.99 per month, or $19.99 per month for ad-free viewing and 4K quality. Prefer to pay for Max yearly? Prices start at $99.99 per year for the ad-supported plan, while ad-free is $149.99 per year and the Ultimate Ad-Free plan is $199.99 per year.

Thanks to its premium content, HBO Max is one of the more desired streaming services available. But due to the price, many viewers are curious about ways to score free HBO.

Are you also wondering about how to get HBO or HBO Max for free? The good news is that there are a handful of ways you can check it out for free for a little bit, and even some ways to score discounted plans. Check out our guide below for all the details.

What to Know Before Trying a Free HBO Trial

Before you sign up for a free HBO trial or take advantage of other HBO Max deals, it's important to keep the following things in mind.

Price Increases and Other Changes Are Happening

In April 2022, the merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery prompted a lot of questions about HBO. Almost a year later, we're starting to see the ripple effect of that merger, with speculation about name changes to the service, content removal without warning, and price increases.

In fact, news came in January about HBO Max increasing its prices. Fortunately, it's just on one plan — the ad-free plan has gone from $14.99 per month to $15.99 per month.

It's not a huge jump, and it's reportedly the first time the service has raised prices since it launched in 2020. But with various pieces of content being removed somewhat randomly, the small jump in price is harder to accept.

Ad-Supported and Ad-Free Plans Are Available

Note that while HBO and HBO Max are technically separate, you can opt for an HBO Max plan that includes "everything HBO," as well. Monthly costs include an ad-supported plan for $9.99, while the ad-free plan is $15.99. You can also opt for yearly subscriptions if you'd like. The ad-supported version of the annual plan is $99.99, while the ad-free annual plan is $149.99.

Amazon Prime Video and Hulu are both offering a 7-day free trial of HBO Max.

It may seem like the ad-free HBO Max plan is more expensive without offering more benefits, but the ad-supported plan basically just allows you to watch everything available "with limited ads for a lower price," according to the company. If you opt for the ad-free plan, though, you'll also be able to download content to watch on the go and stream in 4K UHD when it's available.

You'll Have to Provide a Method of Payment

Expect to provide a payment method when signing up for an HBO Max trial. Most often this is going to mean providing a credit card or debit card number. But either way, you'll have to input payment info to finish signing up. It's important to remember when your trial ends, as that's when you'll be automatically charged for another period of service. If you aren't planning to stick with it, note when your renewal is and cancel a couple of days beforehand.

Free HBO Trials Are Usually Limited to New Subscribers

Most HBO and HBO Max offers are going to be applicable for new users only. But there are times when a returning customer may be able to take advantage of a special promotion, too. You may also be able to avoid the new-user rule by providing a new email address instead.

HBO Max profiles screen asks user to select who is watching.

10 Ways to Get Free HBO

1. Score a 7-Day Free Trial Through Amazon Prime

Are you an Amazon Prime member who wants all the entertainment HBO Max has to offer? The good news is you can add the premium channel to your membership via Prime Video Channels. The bad news is it's an extra cost on top of an already hefty yearly fee. Amazon Prime currently costs $139 per year or $14.99 per month, and if you want to add HBO Max to your lineup, that'll cost an additional $15.99 per month.

SEE ALSO: Ask an Expert: Help! I Have Too Many Streaming Services

If you'd like to see what kinds of content the company has to offer, you can get a 7-day free trial of HBO Max through Amazon — as long as you're a Prime member. If not, you'll have to give that a try, too. But the good news there is you get a 30-day trial of Amazon's membership before you're charged.

2. Sign Up for an HBO Max Free Trial on Hulu

Hulu is one of the longest-standing streaming services available, so it's no surprise that it's also one of the ones that has an agreement with HBO. You can sign up for a free trial of HBO by joining Hulu, too.

Choose one of the available Hulu plans, which start at $1.99 per month for students and $7.99 per month for everyone else, and then just add on HBO Max. (For what it's worth, HBO Max student discount subscriptions are not on offer right now.) You'll have a week to try out the HBO portion of your subscription, after which you'll be charged $14.99 per month.

3. Check Your Subscription Boxes for HBO Max Offers

If you subscribe to services that send you a box on a regular basis, it's worth digging through those add-on offers that are typically tucked inside. You may see cards or flyers for things like HelloFresh, as well as streaming services like HBO Max. They may not be for free trials, but you may be able to get your first month or more discounted. Just be sure to read the fine print before signing up and entering your payment info.

4. Go Unlimited With Cricket Wireless

If you use Cricket Wireless as your mobile carrier, you can snag the ad-supported version of HBO Max at no additional cost. You must sign up for Cricket's $60-per-month unlimited plan to qualify, and Cricket does state that if the network is busy, it may temporarily slow data speeds. It's also important to note that HBO Max will stream in SD quality, and it's only accessible where a high-speed broadband connection is available. But the good news is that by having this Cricket Wireless plan, you should be able to access HBO Max "on your favorite devices."

5. Switch Your AT&T Plan

Select AT&T unlimited plans include HBO Max at no additional cost. Qualifying internet and wireless agreements include the following:

  • Internet 1000
  • Unlimited Elite
  • Unlimited Plus and Unlimited Enhanced Plus
  • Unlimited Choice, Unlimited Choice II, and Unlimited Enhanced Choice
  • Unlimited &More Premium
Note that with the last one, you must choose HBO as your premium option.

Select AT&T TV packages are also eligible for free HBO Max, including these:

  • DirecTV Stream Premier and Max
  • DirecTV Premier and Lo Maximo
  • U-verse TV U400, U450, and U450 Latino

6. Get Verizon Fios TV

If you're a subscriber to Verizon Fios TV, then you can already take advantage of their Free View offer. And if you aren't but you're looking for a TV provider, then this might tip you in one direction. With Verizon Fios TV, you can indulge in a free preview of a variety of premium channels, including HBO. The catch is it's only 48 hours, and you can only get one Free View for a particular channel once per year.

Check to see if you can get free HBO via your mobile or cable provider, at least for a short time.

Other channels are available, including Showtime, Cinemax, Starz, and Epix (now MGM+). So you could spend two days on your own schedule taking in as much premium content as you can manage. But since you can only do this for each channel available once over a 12-month period, you might want to pace yourself. That means if you splurge now and watch HBO over two days in March, you won't be able to watch HBO this way again until next March.

7. Call Your Cable or Satellite Provider

Watch your mail for advertisements from your cable or satellite provider. If you see them advertising that new subscribers can receive free HBO, give them a call to see if they can extend the same offer to you. Remember to be polite, and don't be afraid to goose the truth a bit. For example, if the representative seems unwilling to budge, you can mention that you're thinking about switching providers or cancelling altogether because it's grown too expensive. There's no guarantee this will work and it could backfire — the worker could offer to help you cancel your service, for instance. So try not to push your luck too much.

8. Watch for Free (With a Catch)

If you've been paying attention to the news around HBO Max, you've likely seen how content is disappearing, often without warning. Recently, shows like Westworld, The Nevers, and Raised by Wolves have been removed, among other titles. If you were hoping to catch up on these series, you may think you're out of luck. But there's good news — sort of.

SEE ALSO: When Is the Best Time to Buy a TV?

The good news is that these titles and others are being licensed to ad-supported services like Tubi and The Roku Channel. The bad news is you won't have much — if any — flexibility on how to watch them on the former. It'll be like old-school cable, meaning that you'll have to watch whatever episode happens to be airing when you tune in. Roku has also announced shows like Westworld will be on its curated channels, but hasn't noted as of this writing if anything will be on demand.

9. Watch Free Episodes via HBO

Curious about the hype behind an HBO show and want to watch it without a subscription? The good news is that you may be able to watch the first episode for free! Head over to this HBO page and this HBO Max one, and take a look at everything that's available. You can typically watch the very first episode of a show for free, which might be enough to get you hooked and push you into subscribing to a full-blown plan.

Current offerings include episodes of shows like The Last of Us, White Lotus, House of the Dragon, and others. If you're on the fence, watching the first episode of one of these shows could at least push you into signing up for a free trial and bingeing the entire series (if available). Otherwise, you might want to wait for the end of a season to binge the whole thing.

10. View Free Clips on YouTube

HBO YouTube clips don't really count as getting free HBO, but they're another way to have a taste of the content without signing up. Trailers, clips, and other content of that nature are available to watch, and you can also find select bits of a regular show that are surprisingly lengthy. For example, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver often posts the big story of each episode on YouTube. So you'll typically find various clips that let you hit all the high points.

Need a new TV to watch all of HBO's best on? Check out the best TV deals available now!

Julie Ramhold
Senior Staff Writer/Consumer Analyst

Julie's work has been featured on CNBC, GoBankingRates, Kiplinger, Marketwatch, Money, The New York Times, Real Simple, US News, WaPo, WSJ, Yahoo!, and more. She's extolled the virtues of DealNews in interviews with Cheddar TV, GMA, various podcasts, and affiliates across the United States, plus one in Canada.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).


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