Right off the bat, I must let you know that this is not a post on whether Amazon Prime is worth it. It is. I don’t consistently have Amazon Prime. I only take advantage of it at certain times of the year for the discounts and free shipping. That being said, Amazon has steadily added new programs and benefits to the Prime membership program. They also have great deals throughout the year that are only available to Prime members. At only $12.99/month or $119/year, the question I ask today is, “is a yearly subscription to Amazon Prime worth it?”
To figure this out I’m going to tell you what I think about the Prime benefits I’ve used for myself and go over the other programs they offer. I’ll also show you some tips and tricks I’ve used to occasionally get Prime for free. Hopefully, by the end of this post, you will be able to decide whether you should just use the free trial and cancel, buy Prime as you need it throughout the year, or pay for a yearly subscription.
When Amazon Prime first came out, it was all about the free two-day shipping. That alone was worth the membership for people who shopped a lot. As long as you pick from eligible Prime merchandise, you could get your product within two days for free. Over the years, the shipping options with Prime have improved. Select cities now have access to free 1-day or same day shipping. A lucky few can get free 2-hour delivery on some household items.
I take advantage of two-day shipping during the months of November and December for my Christmas shopping. I hate crowded stores on Black-Friday and prefer to shop online. With Amazon, I can take my time shopping with the knowledge that whatever I buy will be at my home within a few days.
If you don’t care about getting your items in two days, Amazon gives Prime members a discount or Pantry credit if you choose the No-rush shipping option. I’ve done that and have gotten products within 4 days.
There are some products that say Prime shipping that you can’t get within two days. These are mostly heavy items or hard to get items. But, these items will ship for free. Sometimes, for expensive to ship heavy items, it’s cheaper to pay for a month of Prime instead of standard shipping.
Amazon offers video and music streaming to its Prime members for free. These are the same videos available to non-Prime members that have to pay. I use Netflix, Hulu, and Spotify for my streaming services, so I was never really interested in Amazons streaming service. Although, I must admit that they are getting some good original shows. I heard The Man In The High Castle Is Good.
I never watched Prime video streaming much because their library isn’t as vast as Netflix. It’s the same with the audio streaming; Spotify has more of what I want.
That said, you can expand the Prime streaming options by paying extra for CBS All Acess, Showtime, or HBO. These all can be accessed within the Amazon Prime streaming app. When it comes to streaming, it all depends on what you want to watch.
Amazon Prime offers discounts for subscription services for family items and household product. Prime Pantry cost extra in addition to your Prime membership but can still save you money if used the right way. Prime Pantry offers exclusive discounts on grocery items. These are deals not offered to non-Pantry members. Shipping is free for orders over $40 or a $7.99 flat fee. You can also sign up for Amazon Fresh. It cost extra on top of a regular Prime membership. With Fresh, you can shop order meat and produce online and have it shipped fresh to your home. When you sign up for Amazon Fresh, you automatically are enrolled in Prime Pantry. However, I can’t speak much on the Fresh program because it’s only available in select cities.
One great shopping feature that doesn’t cost extra is the Amazon Family program. It offers up to 20% off diapers, baby food, and more when you set up 5 product subscriptions.
For book lovers, the Amazon Prime subscription includes access to thousands of select e-books you can download and read. Some even include Audible Narration. Select audiobooks are available to stream for free when you’re a Prime member. To me, that’s like a preview to their Kindle Unlimited service. It’s like Netflix for books. Kindle Unlimited is great if you buy a lot of ebooks. It the same price whether you’re a Prime member or not.
Your Prime membership can essentially pay for itself if you’re the type of person to preorder a lot of video games. All preordered games automatically receive a 20% discount. Most new games today average about $60. With a 20% discount, you save $12. That’s almost the cost of a monthly membership. If you’re preordering two new games, it makes sense to at least get Prime for the month for the extra benefits.
Another benefit of Amazon Prime for gamers is Twitch Prime. I’m not a big Twitch user, but I know it’s mostly used for streaming games. For people that enjoy Twitch, you get a free subscription every 30 days to support your favorite streamer, free game content, and access to free monthly games.
More benefits of Amazon Prime are unlimited free photo storage, and discounts throughout the year. Most people are aware of their exclusive Black Friday deals for Prime members, but they also have events throughout the year. One upcoming event is Prime Day 2018. It’s a 36-hour sales event that starts July 16. It’ll have sales comparable to Black Friday sales. It’ll be a great time to try Prime if you have someone’s birthday coming up.
Monthly or yearly?
So, is Amazon Prime worth keeping throughout the year? It all comes down to how much you’re going to use their services. Prime offers a great all-around entertainment and reading service for one low price; it’s a steal if you don’t mind their selections. In this case, I recommend canceling your other streaming services and making do with Prime video, music, and ebook.
All products that are eligible for free 2-day shipping with Prime are eligible for free standard shipping if you spend a certain amount. In this case, it’s only worth it if you buy frequently from Amazon and need your products shipped quickly. You can just try the free trial or pay for a single month if you only order from Amazon a few times a year.
If you’re a gamer who has to preorder every new release from Amazon every month, then a yearly subscription is right for you. I would have suggested joining Best Buys Gamer Club since it’s cheaper, but the program will be ending soon. If you only preorder 1 or 2 games a year, again, just go for one month or the free trial. I buy most of my games digitally when they’re on sale, so the preorder discounts from Amazon don’t interest me.
I’ve been lucky enough to have a free trial available whenever Amazon has discount events. I always cancel before the trail ends. I don’t do a lot of online shopping, so I wouldn’t sign up for a whole year of Prime just for discounts Amazon discounts.
On their own, the benefits of Amazon Prime don’t seem worth a whole year. I get more music from Spotify and get a better selection of movies for Netflix. Scribd and Kindle Unlimited offers more selections of books and doesn’t require Prime. Also, other stores have their own discount programs. But, when you look at everything together, it’s a different story. Everything together makes it a great idea to opt for a yearly subscription. If the benefits above interest you, and if you don’t mind canceling your services from everyone else and putting your eggs in one Amazon basket, you can save a lot of money. I’m toying with the idea of canceling Hulu and Spotify and just using Amazon’s service year round. That way I can avoid the game of canceling before time is up.
Amazon Prime tips
There are a few tricks you can use to try Amazon Prime for free or get a discount.
- Amazon Prime is tied to your email. That means after the free trial from one Amazon account expires, you can create another Amazon account under a different email and use that free trial. Be careful, besides being inconvenient, it could cause a cybersecurity risk by having your information in multiple Amazon accounts. If you want to learn more about how to protect your online accounts check here.
- You can sign up for 1 free trial a year. I usually time my free trials for Black Friday.
- Students receive a six-month free trial as well as a 50% discount on their membership.
- Customers in select U.S. government assistance programs can get monthly Prime membership discount.
- Two people can share Prime streaming access at the same time. I was able to stream at my house while my mom streamed at her house.
- American Express sometimes offers free trials to its members. Although I don’t recommend applying for American Express to get a free trial.
- If you already have Prime and your delivery is late, you can contact customer service for a free month of Prime
What do you think?
Thanks for reading. Do you think Amazon Prime is worth paying for all year long, monthly, or not at all? Let me know down in the comments.