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 range of perks, discounts, and media content for $139 per year, or $14.99 per month. 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 this service is worth it depends on how much you value the benefits and your own budget. Residents in certain areas like Alaska, Hawaii, or Puerto Rico should also consider their reduced perks, such as no free one-day shipping. 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 first. 

Key Takeaways

  • The Amazon Prime membership program comes with perks, discounts, and media content for $139 per year.
  • Amazon offers a free, 30-day trial membership to help you decide if the service is right for you.
  • Residents in certain areas like Hawaii and Alaska may not qualify for as many shipping benefits as residents in other areas.

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 200 million-plus members.

Outside of Prime Day, the Prime membership benefits include: 

  • Prime Wardrobe's "try before you buy" program that lets you select six 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 $4.99 fee
  • Whole Foods Market in-store discounts of 10% off most products, and 5% cash back if you have the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card.
  • Free two-hour grocery delivery in select cities
  • Up to 20% discounts on subscriptions for diapers, baby food, and other products with Amazon Family
  • Exclusive access to product discounts offered only to Prime members
  • Select discounts and deals when you shop with Alexa voice controls
  • Eligible for Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature credit card

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%. 

Shipping and Delivery Benefits of Amazon Prime

For frequent Amazon shoppers, the savings in shipping costs alone may make the annual fee worth it. Members enjoy:

  • Free one-day delivery on more than 15 million items, with the exception of some areas. Get your items by 9 p.m. the next day
  • 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 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 $25 or more
  • Free no-rush shipping to earn an order discount or 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 they don't 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 of both ebooks and physical books may get significant value from Prime membership perks. They include:

  • Unlimited access to a rotating catalog of ebooks, audio books, including magazines and comic books
  • Disounts on magazine subscriptions
  • Access to a new ebook release for free each month
  • Early access to Kindle books

Those who are exclusively interested in Amazon's e-reading options may consider a Kindle Unlimited membership instead. For $9.99 per month, you can select from more than two million digital titles. This membership level starts with a 30-day free trial, and you can cancel any time.

You can opt for a $14.99 per month Amazon Prime membership, or a $7.49 per month Student membership. Valid EBT and Medicaid cardholders get a $6.99 per month membership. 

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 awards nods. And Amazon offers a range of other streaming options. Members enjoy: 

  • Unlimited streaming of movies and televisions shows 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 to a Twitch channel of your choice each month
  • Free, unlimited, full-resolution online photo storage, and 5GB of online video storage. Non-Prime members enjoy 5GB of photo and video storage
  • Purchase channel subscriptions from providers like Showtime, Starz, or Paramount+ for additional fees (with 99 cent per month subscription deals on Amazon Prime Day)

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

What is Amazon Business Prime?

Amazon Business Prime is a separate membership for $69 for one user, $179-per-year for up to three users, or $499 for up to 10 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 one-day shipping on millions of products
  • Free two-day shipping on tens of millions of products
  • Free same-day shipping on select products
  • Free survey analytics
  • Guided buying assistance (with the $179 and $499 subscriptions)

The Bottom Line

To determine if Amazon Prime is worth $139 per year, consider if you will see significant savings based on what you currently 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, Prime membership may not be ideal for you. But for those consumers of streaming media or for those who frequent online shoppers and avid readers, Amazon Prime membership offers a plethora of savings opportunities. Weigh the pros and cons for your situation.

Article Sources
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