Is Amazon Prime Worth It?
Wondering if Amazon Prime is worth the cost? If popular vote means anything, over 100 million members globally think so. But the question really becomes, is it worth it to you?
A large determining factor should be, how many of the many Amazon Prime services will you use?
While a membership to Amazon Prime comes with a smorgasbord of free offerings and discounts, if you’re not going to use at least some of them, then it’s not worth the price.
However, if you take advantage of even a few of the main perks Amazon Prime grants you, you’ll probably more than make up for the yearly cost.
Here we’ll go through all of the Amazon Prime benefits and what they would add up to if you purchased each one separately.
And, if you’re already a Prime member, you might get more out of your existing account if you discover new services you didn’t know were included.
Amazon Prime Membership Options
These are the different Amazon Prime Price Plans at the time this article is being published*.
- Free Trial Period (non-student) – 30-days free trial
- Free Student Trial Period – 6-months free trial (thank you to Sprint for picking up the tab for this!)
- Monthly Prime Membership – $12.99/month – up to 4 members of your household can share this membership
- Yearly Prime Membership – $119.00/year – up to 4 members of your household can share this membership
- Yearly Student or EBT/Medicaid Cardholders – $59/year – no household sharing allowed on these accounts
*Prices subject to change.
Free shipping USED to be a shopper’s Panacea – and a shopping junkie’s kryptonite. No extra charge for a package arriving within 2 days became the ultimate lure for frequent online buyers who happily joined Prime without a second thought.
Fast forward to now – a lot of companies offer free shipping or a discount on shipping if you spend over a certain amount. As a result, Amazon has lost a little of its competitiveness in the free shipping arena.
That being said, they still win in the 2-day delivery category (which for most other companies only happens if you pay an expedite fee) and some of their new services offer even faster shipping (i.e., Prime Now, giving 1-hour delivery on some items).
If you only use Amazon Prime for its free 2-day shipping, it would take approximately 15 separate orders to break even on your Prime Membership. That would be conservative, as it’s based on the current USPS price for their smallest box ($7.90 for 1-3 day priority shipping). For a medium sized box, USPS prices go up to $14.95 and higher.
As a Prime member, if you choose no-rush shipping (which means regular, ground delivery ~6 days out) you can get cashback credit to use on Amazon purchases.
While it still means you are spending more money, the more you spend the more your Prime membership will pay off.
And, this doesn’t mean just buying products on Amazon.com.
Prime member benefits have also trickled into Amazon’s acquisitions – including Whole Foods.
Some of the discounts for Prime members include:
- Discounts up to 10% on many items at Whole Foods
- Deep Discounts on Prime Lightening Deals & Prime Day purchases (Prime Day is like Black Friday but in July – and only for Prime Members)
- Qualifying for the Prime Rewards Visa or Prime Store credit cards which give cardholders 5% cashback on purchases at Amazon
- Prime Exclusive Offers – Hand-picked low-priced products only available to Prime members
- Prime Pantry – Low-priced household items delivered for a flat delivery fee
- Prime Exclusive Coupons – Coupons which are mostly on Prime Pantry products and can save you up to 50% on certain items. Only available to Prime members.
- AmazonFresh – Only available in certain locations, AmazonFresh will deliver groceries, prepared meals and household items to your door for an extra $14.99/month for Prime members
- Wickedly Prime – Amazon’s own healthy & discounted private label food brand, available only to Prime members.
- Alexa Voice – Prime member-only shopping deals using voice shopping
- Prime Reload – Prime members earn 2% rewards on debit card reloads for Amazon.com gift cards
- Amazon FreeTime Unlimited – Save $36 on a yearly family subscription if you are a Prime member
- Video Game Pre-Orders – Pre-orders on select video games will earn Prime members a $10 store credit
Spend a mere $100/month at Whole Foods (which would be a very modest budget if you do shop there), and you will have earned your annual Prime fees back, provided the items you picked qualified for the 10% discounts.
If you purchase a few deep discounted items on Prime Day, you might save enough to cover your annual Prime fee – my last purchases that day were for 2 Amazon Echo Show devices and I saved over $100 by buying them on Prime Day.
Amazon is not surprisingly, big on books. While they have come a long way from their origins of being the first online bookstore, they still place a lot of attention on having one of the best selections of books, electronic and physical.
As a result, Prime members score big time on an available pool of free reading options and reading perks.
- Prime Reading – A selection of more than 1,000 books, comics, and magazines that are free for Prime members to download. Some of the Prime Reading books also have an Audible narration available as well.
- Kindle Online Lending Library – A lesser-known perk that is only an option for Kindle or Fire Tablet owners. Prime members who have one of these devices can borrow from a library of almost 2 million books, at a limit of one book per month.
- Amazon First Reads – Read a new release coming out the following month for free. Prime members can download one free book each month from a selection of six editors’ picks.
- Prime Book Box – Subscription program that delivers hand-picked children’s books every 1, 2 or 3 months. Each box costs $19.99, saving Prime members up to 40% off list price.
If you utilize any of these reading options at least once a month, you are probably saving at least $10.00 in book charges, which offsets your Prime membership fee.
On the whole, Amazon’s video selection is not quite as good as Netflix, but they have still been breaking ground with some of their award-winning original content.
These are Prime member’s streaming options:
- Prime Video – Included for free with your Prime membership, choose from a selection of thousands of movies and TV shows including Amazon Originals.
- Prime Video Channels – Prime members can gain access to shows and movies from channels like HBO, Showtime, and Starz, without cable or any additional apps needed. These extras run anywhere from $4.99-$14.99/month for Prime members.
If you want to subscribe to Prime Video but aren’t interested in the full Prime membership, the cost is $8.99 per month. Being a full Prime member (for $2.00 more monthly) includes Prime Video as part of your Prime subscription.
Music is another area Amazon has branched into where they are still finding their way a bit ~ Amazon’s selection isn’t quite as good as iTunes or Spotify, but they continue to grow their large repository of music, making them a rapidly rising contender in the space.
With your Prime membership, you have the option of enjoying these audio options:
- Prime Music – Over 2 million songs (free), available to listen to over your Amazon Alexa devices, or through the Amazon Music App.
- Amazon Music Unlimited – Millions of songs available, ad-free and unlimited skips. This service costs $7.99/month for Prime members.
- Audible Channels – Free podcasts and curated audio series available to Prime members. Stream for free from a rotating series of 50 audible books.
Other Prime Services
A few random extras are included with your membership as well:
- Unlimited Photo Storage – Yearly photo storage on Amazon Cloud Drive is $11.99/year – free for Prime members.
- Twitch Prime – Free video games, in-game loot, and free access to Twitch Prime is included with your Prime membership.
- Prime Wardrobe – Try before you buy – Pick out a few outfits which will be delivered to your home for you to try on, and only pay for the ones you want to keep.
- Outfit Compare – Submit two outfit pictures to Amazon and receive an expert opinion on which is better within a few hours.
Add It Up
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to sign up for or keep your Prime membership – going way beyond the free shipping and 2-day delivery benefit. But, how many of these you would want to use makes all the difference when evaluating your personal value proposition.
If you are on the fence, you can always take a test run with the free trial, but make sure you cancel within the trial time frame, or you will be automatically subscribed and charged.
If you’re not a Prime member yet but would like to be – start here:
How about you? Do you think Prime is worth it?