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Amazon Is Hiking Up The Price Of Prime. We Investigate If $119 A Year Is Worth It.

Mekelle Bess
April 30, 2018
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In the past seven days, I’ve completed two Amazon orders. I’m by no means an Amazon addict, I usually average one to two orders a month, but I find it especially convenient when I just don’t have time to head to the store.

I love not having to leave my house or stop by the store to pick up one item. I love being able to order birthday presents and wedding gifts (at competitive prices!) and have them sent directly to my friends and family in two days or less. And I love that the membership comes with the ability to stream free videos, tv shows, and music.

For the most part, I’ve seen that my membership has paid for itself. Interestingly, the last time I submitted my order, a pop-up alerted me to how much I’ve saved over the last year on shipping by being a Prime member. I found it super interesting and reassuring that I hadn’t wasted my $99.

And I’m not the only one. More than 100 million of us are Amazon Prime members at the cost of $99 per year. However, the company recently announced that the price will jump from $99 to $119 per year effective May 11 for new members, with the price increase on renewals taking place in June.

Knowing that I decided to dig into whether Prime is still worth it.

Why the increase in price

The value of Prime has gone up in recent years, and this is the main reason behind the price jump, according to the company. The first and last time they raised the price was in 2014 when it went from $79 to $99 per year. But a lot has changed in four years. For instance, four years ago only 20 million products were available for two-day shipping, but today more than 100 million products qualify. And don’t forget all of the access to videos, songs and e-books you get with your Prime membership too, and the fact that Amazon has dove into original programming with shows like Transparent.

Is Prime still worth it at $119?

When it comes down to it, people are willing to shell out for Prime because it saves them time and money on shipping. When determining whether the price is worth it for you though, you just need to weigh the pros and cons.

Pros:

  • If you use Amazon a lot, the free shipping still pays for itself. After about ten two-day shipments, you’ll have broken even, even spending $119.
  • Prime members also get free same-day and two-hour delivery on many purchases in certain parts of the country.
  • Amazon just started offering free two-hour delivery from select Whole Foods locations.
  • Ability to stream Prime Video and access to hundreds of TV shows and movies.
  • Special deals and savings on things like diapers and baby food.
  • Ability to schedule recurring orders and save on order subscriptions.
  • Unlimited storage on Prime Photos.
  • Access to Prime Music with more than two million songs to pick from and personalized stations
  • Ability to apply for the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card which gives you 5% back on Amazon.com and Whole Foods, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores and 1% back on all other purchases

Cons:

  • Increased price from $99 to $119 year, or $10.99 to $12.99 per month is a noticeable increase.
  • Student Prime price is increasing from $49 to $59 per year.
  • It’s not necessarily a replacement for Netflix or Hulu. If you are subscribing to Amazon Prime for the content aspect of it, you are going to want to make your decision based on the libraries of the various streaming services.
  • Free shipping isn’t what it used to be. For instance, Walmart has introduced free two-day shipping on many items if you spend over $35.

Pro Tip: Every college student should take advantage of Prime

There is one group of people who should take advantage of Amazon Prime, and that is college students, mostly because they get their first six months of Prime free. With a college email address, you can get six free months of Amazon Prime membership and a lot of other perks including:

  • Exclusive deals on school supplies
  • Deals on computers and accessories
  • Up to 90% off on textbooks (and 2-day shipping of course)
  • Deals on apparel and accessories
  • Deals on snacks and groceries (for those on campus without a car, this is a plus!)
  • Deals on health and personal care products

Did you also know Amazon has its own textbook store, too?  You can buy and trade in textbooks to get up to 80% of their value back in an Amazon gift card. You can also get a $10 Amazon credit when you refer a friend, roommate, co-worker or classmate to the program. With all the perks, why would you not?

The bottom line

No one likes to pay more for services, but as long as Amazon keeps increasing the value and adding perks for Prime members, I think I will continue to pay for it. For someone like me who is ordering at minimum twelve packages a year, the price still works out and then some.

Image: Maarten van den Heuvel/Unsplash

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