Is Amazon Prime Worth It?

Frequent shoppers—or those who want to stream Prime Video—should consider it

Amazon Prime is a membership program for individuals that comes with a ton of perks, discounts, and media content for $119 per year. Prime members can even share some of their benefits with another adult in their household, including free shipping, video, photos, and exclusive offers.

Deciding on whether that money is worth it depends on how much you value the benefits—and if you live in one of the company’s designated select areas, which do not often include Alaska, Hawaii, or anywhere rural. New members who want to just try out the service can sign up for a 30-day free trial, which will be automatically converted to an annual subscription if they do not cancel before the 30 days is up. 

Key Takeaways

  • The Amazon Prime membership program comes with perks, discounts, and media content for $119 per year.
  • Amazon offers a free, 30-day trial membership to help you decide if it is right for you.
  • Those who do not live in areas that can take maximum advantage of the benefits may not need a membership.

Shopping Benefits of Amazon Prime

From a site that started as a bookseller, Amazon has become the go-to destination for shopping for all things from groceries to furniture. The biggest event geared for Prime members is Amazon Prime Day. This two-day, summer event offers deals on the site's most popular products and devices for the 150 million-plus members.

The Prime membership benefits below reflect that. 

  • Prime Wardrobe's try-before-you-buy program letting you select eligible items for seven days before deciding if you want to keep them
  • Personalized shopping and styling assistance for Prime members in select regions who pay an additional membership fee
  • Whole Foods Market in-store discounts including 5% cash back to eligible Prime members with the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card, and two-hour delivery in select cities
  • Up-to-20% discounts on diapers, baby food, and other product subscriptions when you order at least five items through Amazon Family
  • 30-minute head start for Lightning Deals on
  • Exclusive access to products offered only to Prime members
  • Select discounts and deals when you shop with Alexa voice controls
  • 2% bonus when you reload an Amazon Gift Card using a connected debit card from a U.S. bank
  • Eligible for Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature credit card
  • Eligible for Store Card through Synchrony Bank

You do not need a Prime membership to enjoy the benefits of the company's Subscribe & Save program. Those who sign up for regular deliveries of household goods such as cleaning supplies or batteries can save up to 15% when receiving five or more products at one address. 

Prime memberships are subject to sales tax in 33 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Shipping and Delivery Benefits of Amazon Prime

For chronic Amazon shoppers, the shipping benefits alone may make the annual fee worth it. Members enjoy:

  • Free two-day shipping in the contiguous U.S. for eligible items
  • Free two-day shipping on Amazon Pharmacy items even when paying without insurance
  • Free same-day delivery in eligible ZIP codes for eligible items
  • Free two-hour delivery in eligible ZIP codes for eligible items
  • Free Key In-Car Delivery through the Key by Amazon app in select cities and with compatible connected vehicles. Amazon offers similar services for garage, gate, or home delivery. This allows you to order for delivery to your car/gate/garage/home, even when you're away
  • Free release-date delivery in the contiguous U.S. in eligible ZIP codes for special pre-order items
  • Free grocery delivery in select regions, including one- and two-hour options in certain areas, through Amazon Fresh
  • Free delivery on Amazon Pantry orders of $35 or more. On orders less than $35, members pay a flat fee of $5.99 per order
  • Pre-selected day for deliveries for those who prefer to get packages on a specific day of the week
  • Free no-rush shipping to earn rewards on future purchases

Non-Prime members can also enjoy free shipping on eligible items, as long as they order at least $25 worth of goods. Orders will generally be delivered within five to eight business days. Gift cards receive free one-day shipping but do not apply to the $25 minimum. 

Some resellers on Amazon fulfill and ship their own goods, and they may apply their own shipping charges regardless of your Prime status or your order amount.

Reading Benefits of Amazon Prime

Amazon's roots come from selling books. Avid readers who rely on the retailer for ebooks and actual books may appreciate the Prime membership perks.  

  • Unlimited access to a rotating catalog of more than 1,000 ebooks, magazines, comics, and Audible narrated books
  • Four-month magazine subscriptions for $0.99
  • Access to a new ebook release for free each month
  • Early access to Kindle books

Those who are exclusively interested in Amazon's ereading options may consider a Kindle Unlimited membership instead. For $9.99 per month, you can select from more than one million ebooks and thousands of audiobooks. This membership level also starts with a 30-day free trial. 

You can opt for a $12.99 per month Amazon Prime membership, or a $6.49 per month Student membership. Valid EBT and Medicaid cardholders can enjoy a $5.99 per month membership for up to four years. 

Streaming Benefits of Amazon Prime

The Amazon Prime Video streaming service's original programming such as “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “Jack Ryan” have earned some impressive awards nods. But that's not all there is to the company's streaming options. Members enjoy: 

  • Unlimited streaming of movies and TV in the U.S.
  • Unlimited, ad-free streaming in the U.S. of Prime Music, which includes more than two million songs
  • Free games, in-game content, and free channel subscription on through Prime Gaming
  • Free, unlimited, full-resolution online photo storage, and 5GB of online video storage. Non-Prime members enjoy 5GB of photo and video storage. 
  • Management of channel subscriptions from HBO, Showtime, and Starz for additional fees (between $4.99 and $14.99 per month extra)

If Amazon Prime Video is all you're interested in from Amazon Prime, you can get a video-only subscription from the retailer for $8.99 per month. 

What is Business Prime?

Amazon Business Prime is a separate $179-per-year membership for up to three users.  It offers similar features and benefits to regular Prime, with specific benefits targeted to small companies, such as more control over company purchases, advanced visibility into what they’re spending, and fast delivery of eligible items. Other benefits include

  • Free two-day shipping
  • Progressive discounts
  • Guided buying assistance

The Bottom Line

To determine if Amazon Prime is worth $119 per year, you must consider if you will see significant savings based on what you already spend or consume on Amazon goods and services. If you cannot take advantage of benefits such as free two-day, same-day, or one-hour shipping because you do not live in an eligible location, or if there are no Whole Foods stores anywhere near you, perhaps Prime membership is not for you. But for those who are ravenous consumers of streaming media or for those who frequent online shoppers and avid readers, Amazon Prime membership offers a plethora of savings opportunities. 

Article Sources

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  3. Amazon. "Business Prime." Accessed Oct. 12, 2020.