Amazon said a week ago that more than 100 million people were members of its popular Amazon Prime program. The in a conference call on Thursday, Amazon’s Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky revealed that the program would see a price increase in the coming week, which could bring in a whopping extra $2 billion.
“The value of Prime to customers has never been greater. And the cost is also high, as we pointed out especially with shipping options and digital benefits, we continue to see rises in costs,” Olsavsky said in response to the first question from an analyst, which had nothing to do with Prime. “So effective May 11, we’re going to increase the price of our U.S. annual plan from $99 to $119 for new members.” Olsavsky added that current members of Prime who renew after June 16 will also have to pay the new price, which is an increase of 20%.
Last time Amazon increased the cost of an annual Prime subscription was in 2014. It was a $20 price hike back then as well. From $79 to $99.
How to Lock In the $99 Price Now
New members will have to pay $119 after May 11 and current members will have to pay the new price if renewing after June 16th. But there’s a way to lock in the lower $99 price now for a future signup or renewal. If you’re not sure when your renewal date it, you can check here.
Amazon has a page where you can “Give the gift of Prime“. You can gift someone a Prime Membership, or just gift it to yourself. By gifting to yourself you can also lock in today’s price for a future renewal. You can set the gift date to a later time, just before your membership expires for example. Amazon will send you an email on the day you choose along with redemption instructions.
Is Amazon Prime Worth $119 a Year?
Before you think about upgrading though, you should ask yourself if Amazon Prime is worth the money for you. If you don’t take full advantage of what the program offers, you might be better off not paying for it. And Amazon Prime does have a lot of perks and benefits
Amazon Prime members get free two-day shipping on some items to addresses in the contiguous U.S., with no minimum purchase. There’s also free same-day delivery by 9 p.m. on orders over $35 on some items, which usually must be ordered before noon and be headed for a residential address. Then there’s the 2-hour delivery for Prime Now in select cities. This is really an incredible service. Now there’s Whole Foods deliveries and deliveries to your car as well.
Shopping is what Amazon is about. With a Prime membership you do get more deals. Amazon has two cards for Prime members that will earn you 5% on all Amazon purchases. The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card also earn 5% at Whole Foods. Here’s some more shopping perks that you get as a prime member:
- 30 minute early access to daily deals. These include gift cards deals as well.
- Dash buttons
- Exclusive access to Amazon brands for baby products, clothing etc.
- Whole Foods perks which should be expanded soon
Amazon Video is the main streaming service offered by the company. It is similar to Netflix and Hulu, with many popular shows, movies and original content. It’s free for Prime members, but could also be purchased by non-Prime customers for $8.99 a month. For music lovers there’s Amazon Music, also free with Prime. It includes ad-free access to more than a million songs. I use both of these services. There’s also a Amazon Music Unlimited service with tens of millions of songs, but that costs an extra $7.99 a month.
Amazon also has incentives for book lovers. After all that was how it all started. You get to rent books for free with Prime Reading and a new book every month with Amazon First Reads.
- Prime Photos – Unlimited photo storage
- Prime Pantry – Everyday essentials such as breakfast, snacks, cooking, beverages, personal care, cleaning, pet food, health, nutrition.
- Amazon Fresh – Costs an extra $14.99 a month, but it includes grocery delivery and pickup
- Audible – Audio-book service
As you can see, Amazon Prime gives you a lot of value. But, $20 is a considerable increase. If you shop often on Amazon and take full advantage of the extra perks and services that Amazon Prime gives you, then it should still be worth it. Otherwise you might have to do your calculations and decide if you should pay $119 a year.
Will you continue to pay for Amazon Prime?