Amazon Prime is now $119 per year: Here's what you get, so you can make up your mind

By Ivan Franco · 13 replies
Jun 15, 2018
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  1. When Amazon Prime launched in 2005, the $79 yearly fee gave members two-day shipping on select items. Amazon has since expanded to audio, video, and even food delivery, and the subscription service -- which recently increased to $119 annually and has more than 100 million members -- offers a lot more perks.

    But is Prime membership worth it? For most the 2-day shipping alone used to do it, but that was when Prime was less expensive and didn't keep raising its yearly cost. Below is a guide to what a Prime membership includes, so you can decide if it's right for you.

    What Do You Get With Amazon Prime?

    Free Shipping

    The most well-known perk of an Amazon Prime membership is free two-day shipping on more than 100 million eligible items, designated by a Prime logo on the product page and at checkout. Currently, items with the Prime logo that say "FREE Same-Day" are eligible for free same-day delivery in more than 8,000 cities and towns with qualifying orders of at least $35. In most cases, if you place the order before noon, same-day delivery items will arrive before 9 pm.

    Can't wait for that new record, book, or game? Release-date delivery by 7 pm is free for Amazon Prime members. If you're not in a hurry for an item, opting for no-rush shipping can get promotional rewards applied to your account. Incentives may include coupons for eBooks or Prime Pantry.

    Prime Now

    Amazon Prime members in certain ZIP codes can score free two-hour delivery of tens of thousands of items - including groceries and electronics - by using the website or mobile app. Delivery from local restaurants is even available in certain areas. It's not uncommon to see discount codes for your first order. As of writing, first-time Prime Now shoppers can get up to $15 off their first three orders via the coupon code "SAVE15".

    Prime Pantry

    Prime members have access to Prime Pantry, so instead of ordering shampoo or cereal in bulk, you can order items one at a time, as you would when grocery shopping. The service has recently changed to a subscription-based model, and members can pay $4.99 per month to get free shipping on Pantry orders of at least $40. Otherwise, you can pay a flat shipping rate of $7.99 per order. Like grocery stores, Prime Pantry also has coupons and deals. Box sizes vary, but they can hold up to 45 pounds. Items are shipped via ground and may take one to four business days to arrive.

    AmazonFresh

    AmazonFresh, available in select cities, costs an additional $14.99 per month after a 30-day free trial. Still, the grocery delivery service is accessible only to Prime members.

    What's the difference between Pantry and Fresh? Pantry delivers nonperishables, like boxed items and canned goods, whereas Fresh options encompass groceries such as fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, frozen goods, and prepared meals. Fresh items also arrive in insulated reusable totes, and customers can select delivery times.

    Delivery is not free (as it is with Prime Now) unless you spend over $50 on your order; otherwise, delivery is an additional $9.99. A pickup option for Prime members who don't necessarily have AmazonFresh is also available in Seattle.

    Dash Buttons

    Prime members can order common household items by pressing Amazon Dash Buttons. Once you order a button for a product, such as detergent or a snack food, for $4.99, that amount is credited to your account for a subsequent order. Thus, the button ends up being free -- provided you use it.

    Amazon Elements

    Prime members also have access to Amazon Elements, the company's private-label brand. Considering the brand launched in 2014 and is now comprised mostly of wipes and dietary supplements, it's a small perk.

    Prime Early Access to Lightning Deals

    Prime members get 30 minutes of early access to Amazon's Lightning Deals - flash sales on a limited amount of discounted items for a set amount of time. Before the sales, early access availability is noted on the deal listing.

    Prime Reading

    Prime members who enjoy reading can take advantage of various benefits. Prime Reading lets members borrow select eBooks (some with Audible Narration), comic books, magazines, and Kindle Singles, with no due date. (This is different than Kindle Unlimited, which offers unlimited access to more than 1 million titles and thousands of Audible books for $9.99 per month.)

    In addition to 10 Prime Reading titles, members can also download one of six editors' book selections one month before publication date with Amazon First Reads.

    Free Washington Post Subscription

    Prime members can sign up for a free six-month Basic Digital subscription to The Washington Post. After the trial period, the cost is $3.99 per month.

    Free Audible Access

    Since 2016, Prime members have also received access to Audible Channels of podcasts and original programs. These include West Cork, a true crime audio series, and What Were You Thinking?, hosted by journalist Dina Temple-Raston, who explores the brains and choices of adolescents. Users can download the Audible app to listen on Android, iOS, Windows 10, and certain Fire devices, and can browse shows by genre.

    Prime Music

    Prime Music gives members access to 2 million ad-free songs that can be played on demand via laptops, phones, and Fire and Echo devices. You can choose from personalized stations or curated playlists. Prime members also get a discounted rate of $7.99 per month or $79 per year for Amazon Music Unlimited -- usually $9.99 per month -- for access to tens of millions of songs. Echo and family plans are also available.

    Prime Video

    With Prime Video, members get free Amazon video streaming for thousands of TV shows and movie titles, from new releases to classics. TV shows include Amazon original series such as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Sneaky Pete, and Lore, and a host of other series, like Sex and the City, Downton Abbey, and Mr. Robot.

    Available shows and movies are added or removed, but if something in your Watchlist is slated to leave Prime Video, the final date will likely be listed so you can get in some binge-watching. With a Prime membership, you are also able to purchase paid monthly subscriptions to premium networks, like HBO, Showtime, and Starz.

    Shopping With Alexa

    Prime members can tell their shopping orders to Alexa if they have an Amazon Echo or other Alexa device. Plus, special Alexa deals and discounts are available for Prime members.

    Twitch Prime

    In 2014, Amazon acquired Twitch, a livestreaming video platform and community for gamers, who watch and discuss video games. And in September 2016, Twitch Prime was announced. Amazon Prime members get game freebies, a free Twitch channel subscription every month, discounts on box game preorders, and ad-free viewing.

    Prime Photos

    Prime membership includes free unlimited photo storage, plus an additional 5 GB for video and document storage — only for personal use and not for business. You can also share the photo storage with five other people in a Family Vault. Photos are easily searchable, can be uploaded through a mobile app, and can be accessed across a variety of devices.

    Amazon Family

    Amazon Prime members can get 20% off diapers subscriptions, a free welcome box, and 15% off eligible baby items. For an additional $2.99 per month (after a one-month free trial), Prime members can snag FreeTime Unlimited, which offers access to more than 15,000 kid-friendly books, movies, TV shows, apps, and games on Kindle, Fire tablets, Android devices, or compatible Echo products.

    Amazon Prime Store Card

    Members can get an Amazon Prime Store Card and earn 5% back on Amazon purchases. Occasionally there are even bonus offers for applying — like receiving a $10 gift card upon approval.

    Benefit Sharing

    Prime members can create an Amazon Household account to share benefits with one other adult and up to four teens and four children, provided all of these people have the same address. Check out Dealnews' guide: "How to Add Family to Your Amazon Prime Account."

    Teens can even shop with their own login under their parent's account. It provides freedom for them to do their own shopping, but parents can still approve their purchases.

    Prime Wardrobe

    Subscription boxes have grown incredibly popular, thanks to services like Stitch Fix. Amazon joined the game with Prime Wardrobe, and it's a great way to try before you buy. Simply choose at least three items of clothing, accessories, and shoes to fill your box. Amazon will send you the box at no extra charge and give you seven days to try them out. You'll keep only the items you love, pay for those, and send the rest back.

    Prime-Exclusive Phones

    Shoppers can grab select models of LG and Motorola phones at Prime-exclusive prices. The phones are unlocked, allowing you to choose your plan and carrier simply.

    Prime-Exclusive Brands

    Prime members have access to exclusive brands, including those offering clothing and snacks. Wickedly Prime offers a variety of snacks, soups, and teas. Happy Belly is another brand for Prime members on Amazon, and offers "high-quality foods and beverages that taste great." It's not just tasty snacks, either. Prime members can also shop exclusive fashion brands, including The Fix.

    Prime Insider

    Prime offers a ton of benefits to its members, and Amazon often adds perks. If you're afraid of missing out, consider checking out Prime Insider. It's a great way to keep up with all the benefits a Prime membership offers, as well as get access to "exclusive interviews and user guides," and "offers and deals just for Prime members."

    Prime-Exclusive Discounts at Whole Foods

    Since Amazon purchased Whole Foods, it's been providing Prime members with extra incentives to shop at the healthy grocer. Last November, Prime members received an in-store Whole Foods coupon for 20% off and 14% off whole regular and organic turkeys, respectively. It was the first in-store coupon we'd seen since the buyout, but not the last. Around Mother's Day, the online retailer had a promotion where Prime members could snag 20 tulips for $10 at their local Whole Foods store.

    The deals aren't restricted to seasonal offerings, though. Prime members can now save an extra 10% on select items at Whole Foods stores.

    Amazon Key

    Amazon introduced new delivery options over the last year. Now, Prime members can have their packages dropped off inside their homes, so they don't have to worry about items being stolen. It's also recently introduced in-car delivery for select models of Chevrolet, GMC, Buick, Cadillac, and Volvo.

    Do you have an Amazon Prime membership? Why or why not?
    If you're a Prime member, which perks do you use the most? Let us know in the comments.

    Josie Rubio is a contributing writer at dealnews. Republished with permission.

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  2. Theinsanegamer

    Theinsanegamer TS Evangelist Posts: 1,122   +1,144

    So to get the food delivered, you have to pay for shipping or somehow pay extra, if you want the full music catalog, you pay extra, if you want to watch prime video, the majority have to be rented, their 2 day shipping has become 3-4 days, and because I dont live in one of the biggest cities in the US, many of the other services are unavailable, all this after they jacked up the price because they made record profits.

    I will not be renewing prime. It simply doesnt save enough money anymore. It made sense at 70, but not at 120, especially as pricing has gotten out of control and customer service has fallen apart. If I order stuff only 3 months out of the year, I can just buy 4 months of prime for $50 instead, assuming the cost of shipping is higher then a month of prime.

    These silicon valley companies are going to price themselves out of the market if they keep this up.
     
    Slappy McPhee and lumbeeman like this.
  3. GregonMaui

    GregonMaui TS Enthusiast Posts: 58   +10

    The best benefit is the free 2-day shipping. But wait, I live in Hawaii, they don't offer this. But do I get a discount? NO. Sometimes 2-day free shipping orders take 10-days to arrive. Same price, less service. SAD
     
  4. senketsu

    senketsu TS Guru Posts: 600   +371

    I have also found in Canada that the quality of Amazon has declined. Shipping is taking much longer than it used to. Counterfeit goods also a concern.
     
    Evernessince likes this.
  5. Slappy McPhee

    Slappy McPhee TS Enthusiast Posts: 95   +44

    I have noticed an uptick in the rentals as opposed to what is included in Prime Video however that mainly has to do when something new is coming out that corresponds to something that might have been free. Example would be The Karate Kid series. They had been free, but once YouTube announced Kai, even though that is a different service, those movies became rentals instead. I am assuming that is some type of agreement with the studios that when a movie or show is brought back to relevance then the studio will require said content to become paid only. This makes sense since they are in their eyes losing money on every view otherwise.

    For me even at 120 it makes sense to keep just for the shipping and Prime Video. We don't use Netflix or any of the other similar service with exception to YouTube Premium because we watch the hell out of YT and I loathe the commercials otherwise. I order from Amazon at least once a week and sometimes several times.

    Your reasoning definitely has merits in your case for sure.
     
  6. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 2,715   +1,824

    Nearly every time I've purchased a "used" product from Amazon Warehouse I end up with something worse then I'd get on eBay. The last time I bought a graphics card there used it started to spark and smoke. Amazon Warehouse has a low rating for a reason, they don't inspect any of the returns they get.
     
  7. Skjorn

    Skjorn TS Maniac Posts: 261   +141

    Prime BARELY made sense at $70, who tf is constantly ordering consumer products that MUST be rushed to their house within 2 days?
     
  8. netman

    netman TS Rookie Posts: 17   +7

    It is the total ripoffs!... I stopped AP after they jacked up the 79-dollar annual fee. I only used it for movies and occasional shopping with free two-day shipping. I since realized the majority of their movies are plain garbage! Their movies are free this week and only chargeable next week! Without AP, most products still ship free with longer than 2-day lead time (3-5 days). Some items requires minimum purchase of 25 bucks for free shipping, otherwise I would rather pay for a small fee for shipping than being an AP member...
     
  9. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,664   +156

    You get free 2-day shipping with FedEx at Walmart. Why do we have to pay for Amazon anyway... Now a days everything has to be ordered online. It's a shame things have gone that way. Amazon just got so big it forgot about being a business for the people instead of a business for Amazon.
     
  10. Tanstar

    Tanstar TS Evangelist Posts: 656   +200

    They now ship everything they can in plastic bags instead of boxes too. I just returned a new release hard back book because it got bent due to no protection. The SSD drive they sent in a plastic shipping bad seems to be okay, but that's just luck. Charging me more and giving me less that I actually want. Prime 2 day shipping is useless if the contents aren't protected.
     
  11. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,156   +292

    If I plan on buying a bunch of gifts off Amazon I buy prime for a month. One time during black Friday they had a killer cpu\mobo\ssd\smart phone deal I wanted, so I bought prime for a month. Counterfeit items can be a nuisance though, my parent have a bug zapper paddle they got from like walmart. It is so strong it can catch a leaf on fire. It instantly kills even the biggest spider. So I was like yeah I'm going to get one on Amazon, mine literally can't even kill a fly....

    Not to get political but that new imposed fee brought onto Amazon by the UPS probably contributed to the rise in prime membership.
     
  12. alabama man

    alabama man Banned Posts: 474   +297

    Amazons workers conditions resemble slavery, supporting them means you support inhumane salaries and bad working conditions. Until they fix their **** I'll gladly go somewhere else with my shopping even if it costs more.
     
  13. roberthi

    roberthi TS Addict Posts: 301   +78

    Free delivery. That's the ONLY thing I give a crap about. Never asked for anything else and didn't want it. Keep my payments lower, since there's literally no value added to what they offered originally.
     
  14. Madmaxneo

    Madmaxneo TS Enthusiast Posts: 32

    I have Prime and at first it was only for the shipping services. Now I sometimes use Prime music and Prime Video. Most of the other supposed benefits are not really benefits at all if you have to pay anything extra for a subscription. I'm not sure why I would pay a monthly fee to have access to Prime Pantry if I already shop at Aldi's, which is already cheaper than Amazon. To it is getting a bit expensive at the $120 mark. I am going to have to see if I can continue on my budget.
     

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