When you purchase a Silhouette machine, it includes is a 1-month trial subscription to the Silhouette Design Store. Most new users have no clue what that means. Never fear! I know all the details and fine print. Keep reading to find out what it is and how to best use it.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click the link and purchase something, I may receive a small commission. You pay the same price. This helps me to be able to keep my business going and provide more tutorials. I will always be honest about my opinion of any product.
What is a subscription?
There are a variety of ways to pay for designs in the Silhouette Design Store (SDS)–
- add a credit card to your account
- use PayPal
- download cards you add to your account
- credit boosts
- a subscription
I’ve got a full post about the SDS here, and one about subscriptions specifically here, so I’ll just do a broad overview in this post.
When you pay with a credit card, PayPal or download cards, it’s a pay-as-you-go option. You pay for each design or set of designs each time you shop in the SDS.
When you purchase a subscription, you commit to paying a set fee each month for 3, 6 or 12 months. In exchange for that commitment, you get a set amount of credit per month in the SDS. So, say you bought a Basic 12-month subscription. You’d pay $9.99 each month for $25 in credits. That means you’ve paid $10 and you get to pick out $25 worth of designs. Once you get a design, it’s yours to keep forever, even if you no longer have a subscription. Think of it like a frequent shopper discount or bulk pricing for the SDS. The longer the time you sign up for, and the higher the level you sign up for, the bigger the savings.
Credit Boosts are a hybrid of the 2. I’ve explained that all in the posts linked above.
What is the 1-month trial subscription?
The free 1-month trial subscription is the way Silhouette America gets you to try out a subscription and see how subscriptions work — like taking a car for a test drive. It’s just as if you started a yearlong subscription, paid $10 and got your first $25 in credits. At the end of 30 days, the test drive is over. You get to keep any designs you purchased, just like you’d get to keep the memory of the test drive of a car. But the subscription itself has ended.
What can I purchase with my credits?
Here’s what you can buy with the credits–
- any design or font in the SDS, with either a personal or commercial use license
And there are some things you can’t purchase in the SDS with those credits–
- credit boosts
- a regular subscription
The trial subscription is not a gift card. The credits are ONLY for the SDS. You cannot buy items on the Silhouette America website with the trial subscription credits–
- physical items (vinyl, blade, etc.)
- software upgrades (Designer Edition, etc.)
- gift cards or download cards
How to I get the trial subscription?
If you purchase an older machine, you might have a physical card in the box. It looks something like this:
It works a bit differently this days – saves a few trees. When you register your machine you are emailed a link. It looks like this:
Just follow the link and instructions.
When should I add it to my account?
I highly recommend you do NOT add your subscription to your account right away when you purchase your machine. Until you’ve gotten some experience with the machine, you don’t know what you’re looking for in the store and usually end up wasting it on designs you may never use. Plus, it’s only good for a limited time (see more below), so you want to make sure you’re ready to use it all before you apply the code.
Instead, start with the free shapes that come with your machine. Check out my Successful Beginner Projects series, because those are all done with the free shapes.
When you are ready to add it — after you’ve read all this post and gotten some experience with your machine — do it during a sale. That way you get more bang for your buck. There are sales every month in the SDS, so wait for one on the types of designs you’re drawn to. For example, if you aren’t into making things with a 4th of July theme, wait for the Fall designs sale instead. The best sale of the year is always between Black Friday and the new year.
What are expired credits?
THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO KNOW ABOUT ANY SUBSCRIPTION!!! That’s why I want to explain it before I even tell you how to start your trial subscription.
Subscription credits don’t last forever
Once they are added to your account, regular subscription credits are good for 60 days. Then they expire. That means they are like expired milk your husband dumped down the sink — gone. Also, you can only use credits while you have a subscription. In other words, if you have a normal subscription for 3 months and then decide you don’t want to continue having one, you have to spend all your credits before the end of that 3 months. The bottom line: use it or lose it.
Credits in the 1-month trial subscription are similar. The day you add the code to your account is day 1 and the subscription lasts for 30 days. You need to use the credits within that time. After that, you can’t use them because you don’t have an active subscription.
Credits expire approximately the same time of day as you signed up. That means you may not have until midnight on the last day. It’s a good idea to use them up a day or 2 before the expiration date.
It’s actually 30 days, not 1 month. So someone who adds the 1-month trial subscription on February 1 won’t get cheated just because it’s a shorter month.
Technically, the credits in the 1-month trial subscription are good for 60 days. It’s just that you can’t use them after 30 days because you don’t have an active subscription. BUT – what if you did? If your subscription (regular or your 1-month) ends and you start a new subscription within 30 days, those credits are available again. That’s because they are still within that original 60-day window and you once again have an active subscription.
This is NOT the case if you physically go in and cancel a subscription – regular or the trial 1-month — so you don’t want to do that. Any subscription will just end at the end date as long as you don’t renew or didn’t sign up for Auto-renew when you started it. No action is required on your part.
Cancelling it means you want it to end immediately that moment and you forfeit any unused credits. The only time you want to cancel a subscription is when you’re partway through and decide you can’t afford to keep doing it. Obviously, that’s not the case on your 1-month trial subscription. If that happens on a regular subscription, you ALWAYS want to use your credits before you cancel.
How to add I it to my account?
Now that you understand all that, let me show you how to add the 1-month trial subscription to your account.
- Go to the SDS and sign in.
- Click on Subscriptions at the top of the page.
- It will default to a Basic 12-month subscription. Leave it there and click Continue.
- The next section is Payment and Billing. The first thing says, “Do you have a promotion code or a prepaid subscription gift card? Enter your code here for your discount.” That’s where you put in the code from your email or physical card. Click Apply, then Continue to review and confirm.
- Check the credit balance in the upper right. It should now say $25.00.
How do I use the credits?
To use your credits, start shopping in the SDS. Add designs to your shopping cart. View the cart at anytime to see the–
- Subtotal, which is the total price of the designs in your cart.
- Sales Tax, if any.
- Available credits, which is your credit balance. This is a combination of any credits you have on your account from subscriptions, credit boosts and download cards. Subscription credits are always used first since they don’t last forever.
- Total that would be charged to you. This is the difference between your credits and the subtotal. If your credits are greater than the subtotal, there’s nothing charged to you and you keep the remaining credits. If the subtotal is greater than the credits, all the credit is used and then you pay the remaining balance via another payment method.
Check out and the designs are downloaded to the library on your computer.
How can I check my balance and expiration dates?
There’s a very easy way to check this, so don’t worry about trying to keep track of it all. Just sign into your account in the SDS, hover over the icon of the person in the upper right corner and click on “Credit Balance.”
That takes you to a page which gives you all the info you need – issue date, amount remaining, original amount, credit type and expiration date. (The credits you see here on my page don’t have an expiration date because they were a special type, but the pic gives you the idea).
What happens when I’ve used all the credits?
Once you’ve used all the credits, you would begin paying by one of the other methods (credit card, paypal, download cards, credit boosts, etc.).
What if I like it and want to buy a subscription?
If you want to buy a subscription at any time, you can start in the Subscriptions tab at the top of the page. Just be sure to read my post on subscriptions first so that you know all the fine print. There are some details you really need to understand before you commit.
Here’s 1 small thing to note. Let’s say you like the idea and want to start a regular subscription. When you already have a subscription (trial or regular) and sign up for a new one (a regular one), you have the option to start it immediately or at the end of the current one.
- If you start it immediately, it ends the current one. This is what you want to do if you’ve used up those trial subscription credits before the 30 days and want to keep the savings going. In other words, you don’t have to wait until the end of the 30 days.
- If you do it at the end of the current one, it’s just a continuous flow. This is the one you’d want to do if you hadn’t used up the trial subscription credits yet and don’t intend to by the 30-day mark. In the new one, you still have any unused credits because you have an active subscription and are within that 60-day window.
Do I have to cancel it at the end?
No. If the 30 days are up, you don’t have to do anything. In other words, applying and using your 1-month trial subscription does not sign up you for a regular subscription or obligate you in any way to purchase one. And as I said before, it’s always better to let it end than to cancel it.
That should be all you need to know about the trial subscription that comes with your machine. But if I’ve missed anything, feel free to ask a question in the comment section.
I just got a cameo 4. I cant figure out how to redeem the free 1 month trial. There wasn’t a promo code in the email I was sent. I did email silhouette to see how to resolve this. I haven’t heard back yet. Wondering if you could help?
Cindy Eckhoff says
Hi Kristin– It has changed yet again recently. There should be a link in the email that takes you to the Silhouette Design Store. I have updated the post to reflect the change and added a new screenshot of the email you should have received.
Ellen Dukehart says
I was trying to look at this article and it keeps telling me that I need to have a membership. I have a Deluxe Yearly membership and am logged in but I can’t see to access it. thanks
Cindy Eckhoff says
Ellen — I’m going to send you a private email about this since it’s membership-related.
Diane k Wheeler says
I just dpurchased a cameo 4. Do I have a trial subscription now? If so, why have I been charged $9.99 on my credit card already?
Cindy Eckhoff says
Hi Diane — Did you go through the set up process on Silhouette America’s website? If so, during that process you should have gotten a code for the trial subscription and instructions on how to apply that to your Silhouette Design Store account. You go to the Silhouette Design Store, sign in to your account and click on the tab for subscriptions. In the payment and billing info section, you enter the code and should get the 1 month free. If you were charged, there are several possibilities. (1) You did not enter your code. (2) You signed up for a regular subscription and not the trial one. (3) You signed up for Club Silhouette by mistake, which is different. That’s a program on the Silhouette America website where you pay a certain amount each month and get mats and blades mailed directly to you throughout the year, free shipping and discounts on physical products, etc. Your best bet is to contact Silhouette America’s customer support via the chat feature on their website (silhouetteamerica.com) or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. They will be able to check your account and see what you were charged for.