Amazon Prime is a paid subscription service that provides eligible Amazon members with a plethora of exclusive benefits, including free two-day shipping and access to on-demand music and videos. For the 100 million people already using the service, Amazon Prime is a great way to make the most out of your Amazon account. But how much does the service actually cost to use?
When Amazon first introduced the service in 2005, it cost $79 a year for free shipping within the contiguous United States. However, the membership fee has since increased (once in 2014, and again just recently) to accommodate the new services — such as Prime Video, Prime Reading, and the Whole Foods discount — that have been added to the service. Before you can figure out how much the service is going to cost you, though, there are several subscriptions and discounts you’ll want to be aware of.
At a glance
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Amazon recently announced some price changes to its Prime membership tiers. The standard Amazon Prime membership will still run you about $13 a month (for a total of $156 a year). Where the biggest change will be felt is in the annual membership, which is increasing by $20 (from $99 to $119). However, if you can afford to shell out for the annual membership, it’s still the better deal in the long run, as you end up saving yourself about $37 a year by not paying month-to-month.
Existing Prime members with an annual membership will renew at this rate ($119) starting on June 16. As of May 11, all new members will be charged this rate as well.
If you are a student or professor (or anyone with a .edu email address), you may be eligible for the Amazon Prime Student membership which only costs $6.50 a month ($78 a year). If you purchase the annual membership, it will only cost you $59.
However, the one downside of this cheaper membership is that you will need to re-enroll as a student every year to keep this rate or Amazon will assume you’ve graduated and beginning charging you the standard rate.
Are you new to Amazon Prime and are not sure if you want to commit to an entire year’s worth of the subscription? Amazon also offers a 30-day free trial of its Prime service. You’ll need to put a credit card on file to sign up for it, and it’s only available to first-time members, but as long as you remember to cancel your membership before your 30 days are up, this is a great way to test run the service for free before you commit.
Prime Video Membership
While free shipping used to be one of the biggest draws to becoming an Amazon Prime member, that may no longer be the case since Amazon started streaming exclusive content like Mozart in the Jungle and Lore, with plans for an Amazon-exclusive Lord of the Rings prequel as well. You can enroll in a Prime Video-only membership, which will allow you to stream everything the service has to provide for only $9 a month ($108 if you pay monthly versus $99 for the annual Prime Video membership).
You won’t be able to get the free shipping or other services associated with the traditional plan without signing up for that one, but the Prime Video membership can be a good way to get some of the benefits of the Prime service for less money. You can also add additional services to your Prime Video account through participating partners such as HBO, Cinemax, and Starz (for another fee, of course).
Besides Prime Day, which is known to offer exclusive deals (including Prime memberships) for current membership holders, you may also be able to get a Prime membership through another service you already have (such as Sprint) for a potential discount. Be sure to check with your cell phone or cable provider for more details and to see if you are eligible.
Even at its most expensive ($156 a year if you opt to not get the annual membership), Amazon Prime is a great way to make the most out of your Amazon account, if you use the service regularly.