Get ready to pay more for free shipping. Amazon Prime, that service that allows us to click a button and receive anything from cat food to cheeseboards to, well, cheese in two days or less is getting more expensive. Rather than paying $11 a month for Prime membership, you now have to fork over $13, an increase of 20 percent. While students with a valid .edu address will still be able to pay less than other members, their charge will also increase from $5.49 to $6.49 (it’s always 50 percent off the base price). And to think, when Amazon Prime started in 2012, it was just $8 a month.
The price changes will go into effect starting Friday, January 19, for new subscribers, whereas existing subscribers will see the increase beginning in February.
The decision to increase the monthly subscription cost may be a way to motivate folks to opt instead for the annual subscription, where the price hasn’t changed. If you pay for Amazon Prime for the whole year upfront, you will be charged $99 by the retail giant (or $49 if you’re a student). That makes it significantly cheaper than the $156 you need to pay if you would rather go on a month-to-month basis. So if you know that you rely on Amazon Prime throughout the year, you may consider looking at the annual rate instead.
Increasing the price is an interesting move given that Amazon only introduced the monthly payment around two years ago. At that point, the whole reasoning behind the alternative subscription option was to attract folks who couldn’t afford (or didn’t want) to pay $100 for a year or knew that they were only going to be using Prime intermittently. But now, it looks as though Amazon is trying to push customers back onto its annual plan by making it a much more economically savvy deal.
“Prime provides an unparalleled combination of shipping, shopping, and entertainment benefits, and we continue to invest in making Prime even more valuable for our members,” Amazon said in a statement. “The number of items eligible for unlimited free two-day shipping increased in recent years from 20 million to more than 100 million items. We have expanded Prime Free Same-Day and Prime Free One-Day delivery to more than 8,000 cities and towns. Members also enjoy a growing list of unique benefits like Prime Music, Prime Reading, exclusive products and much more.”
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