Amazon Prime, the ultimate membership program offered by the e-commerce giant, has been a game-changer for online shoppers. With a plethora of benefits like free two-day shipping, exclusive deals, and access to Amazon’s streaming services, it’s no wonder that millions of people worldwide have subscribed to the program. However, the question remains, is Amazon Prime still worth the cost? In this comprehensive review, we will explore the pros and cons of Amazon Prime, analyze its current pricing structure, and determine whether the benefits outweigh the costs. So, buckle up and let’s dive into the world of Amazon Prime!

What is Amazon Prime?

Key Features

  • Free two-day shipping: A primary feature of Amazon Prime, this benefit offers customers free shipping on eligible items with a delivery time of two days or less. This benefit applies to products sold by Amazon and other sellers on the platform, as long as the order meets the minimum purchase requirement.
  • Same-day delivery: Available in select areas, this feature allows customers to receive their orders on the same day they place them. Same-day delivery is offered on eligible items, and customers must select this option during checkout to receive it.
  • Free one-day delivery: Amazon Prime also offers free one-day delivery on eligible items for members. This benefit applies to orders placed by 2:30 PM local time and can be accessed by selecting the “Free One-Day” option during checkout.
  • Early access to deals: Prime members can access Lightning Deals and other limited-time promotions 30 minutes before non-members. This gives Prime members a competitive advantage in securing popular deals on a wide range of products.
  • Exclusive savings: Prime members can enjoy exclusive discounts and offers on a variety of products and services, both on and off Amazon. These savings can add up over time, making the cost of Prime membership worthwhile for frequent shoppers.
  • Unlimited streaming of movies, TV shows, and music: Amazon Prime includes access to a vast library of streaming content, including movies, TV shows, and music. Members can watch and listen to as much content as they like without any additional costs or ads.
  • Free access to e-books and audiobooks: With a Prime membership, customers can access a selection of e-books and audiobooks at no additional cost. This benefit can be especially valuable for avid readers or those who enjoy listening to audiobooks on the go.

How Much Does Amazon Prime Cost?

Key takeaway: Amazon Prime offers a range of benefits, including free two-day shipping, same-day delivery, early access to deals, exclusive savings, unlimited streaming of movies, TV shows, and music, and free access to e-books and audiobooks. However, the cost of Amazon Prime has been steadily increasing over time, and customers must evaluate their own shopping habits and needs to determine whether the cost is still justified. There are also alternatives to Amazon Prime, such as Walmart+, Target Circle, ShippingPass, and Best Buy Totaltech, which offer similar benefits at varying price points.

Current Pricing

  • As of 2021, the annual cost of Amazon Prime in the United States is $139.
  • For customers who prefer a monthly subscription, the cost is $14.99 per month.
  • These prices are subject to change, so it’s important to check the current pricing before making a decision.
  • Additionally, there may be discounts or promotions available for new customers, so it’s worth considering these options as well.
  • The cost of Amazon Prime may vary depending on the country or region, so it’s important to check the specific pricing for your location.
  • The cost of Amazon Prime also includes access to other benefits and services, such as free two-day shipping, access to Amazon Prime Video, and access to Amazon Prime Music.

Price Increases Over Time

Since its launch in 2005, Amazon has consistently increased the price of its Prime membership. The most recent increase was in 2021, when the price went from $119 to $139 per year in the US. While this may seem like a significant jump, it is important to note that the cost of Prime has increased steadily over time, with each increase typically occurring every 12-18 months.

The first price increase for Prime occurred in 2008, when the annual fee increased from $79 to $99. This increase was followed by another price hike in 2011, which raised the annual fee to $119. Over the next several years, the price remained stable, but Amazon continued to add new benefits to the Prime membership, such as free same-day delivery and access to Prime Video.

However, in 2014, Amazon surprised customers by increasing the price of Prime from $79 to $99, citing the additional costs of these new benefits. The next price increase occurred in 2015, when the annual fee went up to $109, and then again in 2016, when it increased to $119.

While the most recent increase in 2021 was the largest jump in price, it is important to note that the cost of Prime has been steadily increasing over the past decade. It is also worth noting that while the price of Prime has increased, the value of the benefits included in the membership has also increased, with the addition of new services such as Amazon Music and the expansion of Prime Video’s original content offerings.

In conclusion, while the recent price increase may be a surprise to some customers, it is important to consider the long-term trend of steady price increases over time. Additionally, it is worth evaluating the value of the benefits included in the Prime membership to determine whether the cost is still justified.

What Do You Get With Amazon Prime?

Comparison with Non-Prime Membership

Free two-day shipping vs. standard shipping fees

One of the most significant benefits of Amazon Prime is the free two-day shipping on eligible items. Non-Prime members can expect to pay standard shipping fees, which can range from $0.99 to $7.99 depending on the size and weight of the item.

Same-day delivery vs. not available

Another advantage of Amazon Prime is the option for same-day delivery on certain items. This service is not available to non-Prime members, and they must wait for their items to be delivered through standard shipping methods.

Free one-day delivery vs. not available

Amazon Prime members can also take advantage of free one-day delivery on a wide range of items. Non-Prime members do not have access to this service and must pay for standard shipping or upgrade to Prime to take advantage of this benefit.

Early access to deals vs. no access

Prime members also receive early access to Lightning Deals, which are limited-time discounts on a variety of products. Non-Prime members do not have access to these deals and must wait for them to become available to the general public.

Exclusive savings vs. no access

Prime members can also take advantage of exclusive savings on certain products, such as discounts on Amazon devices and selected items in the Amazon Pantry program. Non-Prime members do not have access to these savings and must pay full price for these items.

Unlimited streaming of movies, TV shows, and music vs. limited access

Amazon Prime also offers unlimited streaming of a wide range of movies, TV shows, and music. Non-Prime members can still access this content, but they will be limited to a smaller selection of free and paid titles.

Free access to e-books and audiobooks vs. limited access

Finally, Amazon Prime members can access a selection of free e-books and audiobooks through the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. Non-Prime members do not have access to this service and must purchase or borrow books from other sources.

Is Amazon Prime Worth the Cost?

Factors to Consider

  • Frequency of online shopping: One of the primary benefits of Amazon Prime is free two-day shipping on eligible items. However, the frequency of online shopping plays a crucial role in determining the worth of this benefit. For those who shop frequently, the cost of Prime may be justified. On the other hand, infrequent shoppers may find the cost of Prime to be excessive.
  • Size and weight of items purchased: The size and weight of items purchased also impact the value of Amazon Prime. Members who purchase large or heavy items, such as furniture or appliances, may find the free shipping benefit particularly valuable. However, those who primarily purchase smaller items may not see the same level of value in the service.
  • Need for fast delivery: Amazon Prime offers free two-day shipping on eligible items, as well as same-day delivery in select areas. Members who require fast delivery, such as those who need items for a time-sensitive event or those who live in remote areas, may find the cost of Prime to be worthwhile. However, those who are not in a rush for their purchases may not see the same value in the service.
  • Budget for streaming services: Amazon Prime also includes access to streaming services, such as Prime Video and Prime Music. Members who regularly use these services may find the cost of Prime to be justified. However, those who do not use these services may not see the same value in the service.
  • Reading habits: Amazon Prime also includes access to the Kindle Lending Library, which allows members to borrow books for free. Members who are avid readers may find the cost of Prime to be worthwhile. However, those who do not read regularly may not see the same value in the service.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Convenient and fast delivery options
    • Amazon Prime offers fast and reliable delivery options, including same-day and one-day delivery, as well as free two-day shipping on eligible items.
    • This convenience and speed of delivery is a significant advantage for those who frequently shop online and need their items delivered quickly.
  • Exclusive deals and savings
    • Amazon Prime members have access to exclusive deals and discounts on various products and services.
    • These deals are not available to non-members, making it a valuable benefit for those who shop frequently on Amazon.
  • Unlimited streaming of content
    • Amazon Prime offers unlimited streaming of a vast selection of movies, TV shows, and original content.
    • This benefit is particularly appealing to those who enjoy watching movies and TV shows, as it provides an extensive library of content that is accessible at any time.
  • Free access to e-books and audiobooks
    • Amazon Prime members can access a selection of e-books and audiobooks for free, including bestsellers and popular titles.
    • This benefit is particularly appealing to avid readers, as it provides a convenient and cost-effective way to access a wide range of books.

Cons

  • High price tag
    • Amazon Prime has a high price tag, which may be a barrier for some customers who are on a tight budget.
    • While the benefits of Amazon Prime are numerous, the cost may be prohibitive for some customers who do not use all of the services offered.
  • Limited to Amazon products and services
    • Amazon Prime is primarily focused on Amazon products and services, which may limit its appeal for customers who prefer to shop elsewhere or use different services.
    • While Amazon Prime offers a wide range of benefits, its limited focus may be a drawback for customers who are looking for a more comprehensive service.
  • Some features may not be used by all customers
    • While some Amazon Prime features, such as fast delivery and unlimited streaming, are widely used and valued by customers, others may not be as relevant or useful for all customers.
    • This may make it difficult for some customers to justify the cost of Amazon Prime, particularly if they do not use all of the services offered.

Alternatives to Amazon Prime

Comparison of Competitors

As the cost of Amazon Prime continues to rise, many customers are looking for alternatives that offer similar benefits at a lower cost. In this section, we will compare some of the most popular competitors to Amazon Prime, including Walmart+, Target Circle, ShippingPass, and Best Buy Totaltech.

Walmart+

Walmart+ is a subscription service offered by Walmart that offers free shipping, as well as other benefits such as discounts on gas and prescriptions. Compared to Amazon Prime, Walmart+ has a lower price point, but it does not offer as many benefits. However, for customers who primarily shop at Walmart and do not need the additional benefits offered by Amazon Prime, Walmart+ may be a more cost-effective option.

Target Circle

Target Circle is a loyalty program offered by Target that offers free shipping, as well as other benefits such as discounts on purchases and exclusive deals. Unlike Amazon Prime, Target Circle is free to join and does not require a subscription fee. However, the benefits offered by Target Circle are not as extensive as those offered by Amazon Prime.

ShippingPass

ShippingPass is a subscription service offered by various retailers, including Walmart and Best Buy, that offers free shipping on eligible items. Unlike Amazon Prime, ShippingPass is not a standalone subscription service, but rather a feature that must be purchased separately from individual retailers. While ShippingPass can offer free shipping on eligible items, it does not offer the same level of benefits as Amazon Prime.

Best Buy Totaltech

Best Buy Totaltech is a subscription service offered by Best Buy that offers free shipping, as well as other benefits such as extended warranties and early access to deals. Compared to Amazon Prime, Best Buy Totaltech has a higher price point, but it offers more extensive benefits for tech enthusiasts. However, for customers who primarily shop at Best Buy and do not need the additional benefits offered by Amazon Prime, Best Buy Totaltech may be a more cost-effective option.

Overall, while there are alternatives to Amazon Prime, Amazon Prime offers a more comprehensive set of benefits that may be worth the cost for many customers. However, it is important for customers to evaluate their own shopping habits and needs to determine whether Amazon Prime is still worth the cost for them.

Key Features of Alternatives

  • Walmart+
    • Free delivery on eligible orders
    • Fuel rewards at participating gas stations
    • Streaming perks, including a free 30-day trial of Paramount+
  • Target Circle
    • Exclusive discounts and deals for Target Circle members
    • Early access to sales and promotions
  • ShippingPass
    • Free shipping on eligible items from a wide range of categories
    • No minimum purchase requirement
    • 90-day returns on eligible items
  • Best Buy Totaltech
    • Early access to deals and promotions
    • Free technical support, including in-home and in-store service
    • Extended warranty coverage and price match guarantee

FAQs

1. Is Amazon still charging for Prime?

Yes, Amazon is still charging for Prime. Prime is a subscription service offered by Amazon that provides customers with access to free two-day shipping, as well as other benefits such as access to streaming of movies, TV shows, and music. The cost of Prime varies depending on the country and the specific benefits offered.

2. How much does Amazon Prime cost?

The cost of Amazon Prime varies depending on the country and the specific benefits offered. In the United States, the cost of Prime is $119 per year or $12.99 per month. In some countries, the cost of Prime is less, while in others it is more. Additionally, there are often promotional discounts available for new customers trying Prime for the first time.

3. What benefits does Amazon Prime offer?

Amazon Prime offers a variety of benefits, including free two-day shipping on eligible items, access to streaming of movies, TV shows, and music, access to exclusive deals and discounts, and the ability to borrow books from the Kindle lending library. Additionally, Prime members in certain areas may be eligible for same-day delivery or even drone delivery.

4. Is Amazon Prime worth the cost?

Whether or not Amazon Prime is worth the cost depends on the individual customer and their shopping and entertainment habits. For customers who frequently shop on Amazon and take advantage of the free two-day shipping and other benefits, Prime can be a great value. However, for customers who do not shop on Amazon frequently or do not use the other benefits, the cost of Prime may not be justified. It is important for customers to evaluate their own usage and decide if Prime is worth the cost for them.

5. Can I cancel my Amazon Prime membership at any time?

Yes, you can cancel your Amazon Prime membership at any time. To cancel, simply log in to your Amazon account and go to the “Manage Your Prime Membership” page. From there, you can cancel your membership or change your payment method. Note that if you cancel your membership, you will lose access to all Prime benefits, including free two-day shipping and access to streaming of movies, TV shows, and music.

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