Amazon Prime is about to become less of a good deal.
Amazon recently announced it is raising the price of its highly popular Prime subscription service, which comes with benefits like fast, free shipping and free video and music streaming. Very soon, an annual Amazon Prime membership will cost $139, a $20 increase over its current price, $119. Monthly subscriptions and special discounted memberships for students and other groups will see price hikes as well.
Amazon's stock price soared 15% on Friday, Feb. 4, one day after the Amazon Prime price increase was announced in the company's quarterly earnings report.
Amazon Prime cost increases for different memberships
Amazon is not only raising the prices of its standard Prime membership, but it’s also increasing subscription fees for specialty memberships like the one for students.
The new pricing models kick in Feb. 18, 2022, for new members. For current Prime members, the price increases will apply starting on March 25, 2022, or on the date of their next renewal.
Here’s the breakdown for new Amazon Prime prices:
- Amazon Prime Annual: $139 (from $119 currently)
- Amazon Prime Monthly: $14.99 (from $12.99)
- Amazon Prime Student Annual: $69 (from $59)
- Amazon Prime Student Monthly: $7.49 (from $6.49)
- Amazon Prime for Qualifying EBT and Government Assistance Recipients: $6.99 per month (from $5.99)
As of this writing, Amazon has announced no price changes to its stand-alone Prime Video membership, which costs $8.99 a month. There’s no annual membership cost option just for video.
What’s included with Amazon Prime membership?
For Amazon Prime diehards, the price hikes may not be a big deal. To help you evaluate whether Prime is worth it, here’s a brief breakdown of what you’d get:
- Free two-day shipping on eligible items to addresses in the contiguous U.S.
- Free same-day delivery to places in eligible zip codes
- Access to Prime Video: Free streaming of select movies and TV shows
- Amazon Music Prime: Ad-free access to more than 2 million songs.
- Prime Gaming: Access to free select games and a free channel subscription for Twitch.tv.
- Amazon Reading: Digital access to more than a thousand books, magazines and comics.
- Amazon Household: Share your account with others in your household (see: terms and conditions).
Here's a complete list of Amazon Prime benefits.
Amazon hacks: How to pay less for Amazon Prime
If you really want to keep or open a Prime account without paying extra after the price hikes take effect, there are a few ways to reduce membership fees.
If you're not a Prime subscriber right now and haven't been one in a while, you can sign-up for a free Amazon Prime 30-day trial. Technically, you can sign up for one as long as you haven’t been a member in the past 12 months.
Multiple people can share a single Amazon Prime account — and obviously, share the costs of membership — through Amazon Household. Just be aware that you'll have to be comfortable sharing some financial information too, probably including access to credit cards linked to the account. In other words: Only share a Prime account with someone you really trust.
If you’re on the annual Prime plan, you might consider switching to a monthly subscription, especially if you only want to be a member for certain parts of the year — like the winter holiday shopping period, when fast free shipping really comes in handy. For some people, the $14.99 monthly cost may be more digestible than a single $139 hit. You can cancel your monthly membership and renew it whenever you like.
In light of the new price hike, you may also want to think about simply canceling your Amazon Prime membership. Your $139 annual fee can go a long way if you stashed the money in a retirement fund or a high-yield savings account. In addition, you can find plenty of other retailers that offer free shipping on goods, and perhaps look up other competitors of the Amazon Prime services you use the most.