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Amazon Prime Membership: What Is Included and How Much Does … – PCMag

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Thinking about joining Amazon Prime or want to make sure you're getting the most out of your membership? Here are all the benefits, prices, and plans you need to know.
What started in 2005 as a simple subscription for free two-day shipping has evolved into a full-fledged membership program with over 200 million members. But what does an Amazon Prime membership get you in 2022?
Subscribers receive shipping benefits, exclusive discounts, and access to multiple Amazon-owned services like Prime Video and Amazon Music. However, if you’re having trouble keeping track of everything included in the program, or are trying to determine if it’s worth the money, here’s everything you need to know about Amazon Prime.
The cost of an Amazon Prime membership differs depending on how you want to pay. As of February 2022, it costs $14.99 per month or $139 per year, so with the annual rate, you save $40. We’ve seen a few price hikes over the years as e-commerce exploded and Amazon added more perks: from $79 to $99 in 2014 and then to $119 in 2018, before reaching its current price. Prices across Europe have also increased by up to 43%.
If $139 is too much, there are ways to avoid paying full price. First-time subscribers can sign up for a free 30-day trial. Students can sign up for Prime Student(Opens in a new window), which costs $7.49 per month or $69 for the full year. Those who qualify for government assistance(Opens in a new window), such as EBT or Medicaid, can get Prime for $6.99 a month for up to four years.
If you want Prime just for the free shipping, you can qualify for free delivery in 5-8 business days by spending $25 or more on eligible items. Or subscribe to specific items if you buy something regularly. This will knock off 15% of the final price and qualify you for free delivery.
The biggest benefit of an Amazon Prime membership is free shipping, but you also get unlimited access to many Amazon-owned services, such as Prime Video and Amazon Music, and extras are added all the time. Here’s a (non-exhaustive) list of what you get:
Free two-day shipping on eligible items
Free one-day shipping with no minimum purchase on select items
Free same-day shipping on orders $25 and over in eligible ZIP codes
Free release-date shipping for eligible pre-order items
Free no-rush shipping
Free Amazon Day(Opens in a new window), where all your recent Amazon orders are delivered on the same day each week
Free in-garage delivery through the Amazon Key(Opens in a new window) service. (A great way to protect your front door deliveries)
Whole Foods(Opens in a new window): Prime members get exclusive discounts when shopping at Amazon-owned Whole Foods. Members who live in select cities can also receive two-hour delivery from their local store.
Amazon Fresh(Opens in a new window): For grocery deliveries from a variety of brands, Amazon Fresh offers 1-hour pickup or 2-hour delivery windows in more than 2,000 US cities and towns. Prime members can get free delivery within a two-hour window on orders of $35 or more ($50 in some markets), or pay $4.99 for a specific one-hour window. If you shop in a physical Amazon Fresh store, Prime members save 20%(Opens in a new window) on a variety of items each week.
Prime RX(Opens in a new window): Prime members can save up to 80% on their prescriptions at over 60,000 pharmacies.
Try Before You Buy(Opens in a new window): Prime members have access to a program that allows them to try on clothing at home before committing to a purchase. For an addition $4.99 per styling, members can make use of a private shopper(Opens in a new window) service.
Amazon Elements(Opens in a new window): Subscribers gain access to Amazon’s line of everyday essentials, such as vitamins.
Shopbop(Opens in a new window): Free shipping and free returns on all orders.
Woot!(Opens in a new window): Prime subscribers get free standard shipping on all Woot! orders and free express shipping on all shirt(Opens in a new window) orders.
Zappos(Opens in a new window): Link your Prime account with Zappos to get free upgraded shipping on all orders.
Prime members get free access to Prime Video, the company’s video streaming service, which costs $8.99 per month as a standalone service. Prime Video offers 4K and HDR streaming, original content, live sports, and offline downloading from the mobile app. You can also rent or buy movies and TV shows on the platform.
New content is added every month, but you can also watch such originals series as The Boys, Bosch, The Expanse, Fleabag, Invincible, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and The Underground Railroad. It’s also home to The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
Prime Video also includes access to Amazon Studios films like The Big Sick, Manchester By the Sea, and I Am Not Your Negro. And since Amazon’s recent purchase of MGM, you can now stream (nearly) every James Bond film in the series.
Amazon Channels(Opens in a new window) allow you to add certain streaming catalogues to your account, including AMC+, BET+, Boomerang, Discovery+, Epic, Showtime, Starz, and Sundance Now. This is not necessarily cheaper than subscribing to the services separately, but it offers one-stop billing via your Amazon account.
Music lovers get access to 2 million ad-free songs through Amazon Music Prime. However, for the full 90 million-song catalogue, HD audio, and more, you must subscribe to Amazon Music Unlimited for $8.99 per month(Opens in a new window) for Prime members (or $4.99 per month for a single-device plan). Check out our Amazon Music tips for more.
Prime members also get the benefits of Prime Gaming(Opens in a new window), which allows you to claim free games and in-game content each month. You also get a free channel subscription on to support your favorite streamers and other chat-related benefits.
Full games that have been given away in recent years include Control, Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, Oblivion, Sam & Max Hit the Road, and many more. Pokemon Go, Call of Duty: Warzone, and Overwatch. Additionally, a small selection of games are made available to play via Amazon Luna each month. Recent standout titles include Myst and Resident Evil 7: Biohazard.
With Prime Reading(Opens in a new window), ebook fans can borrow thousands of books, magazines, and comics from Amazon’s catalog at no additional cost. It also includes Amazon First Reads(Opens in a new window), which lets you pick one free ebook each month and get early access to select titles. These titles can be read from your Fire tablet, Kindle e-reader, or the Kindle mobile app.
Prime Reading differs from Kindle Unlimited(Opens in a new window), which costs $9.99 per month and grants access to 2 million books, audiobooks, magazine subscriptions, and more.
Included in your membership is Amazon Photos(Opens in a new window), which offers unlimited full-resolution photo storage and up to 5GB of video storage. It is one of the few services remaining that still offers unlimited storage for all your pictures. Here’s how to get started. (A file storage service called Amazon Drive was also included with Prime, but it will be shut down at the end of 2023.)
Do you order a lot of takeout? A new perk for Prime members is a free year of Grubhub+, which would normally cost $9.99 per month. The membership gets you unlimited free delivery on orders of $12 or more (before tax and tip), exclusive in-app perks and rewards, and more.
Prime members get a 40% discount on the Amazon Kids+(Opens in a new window) subscription service, which grants children access to age-appropriate content along with the ability to set up parental controls on their devices. As a Prime subscriber, you would only pay $4.99 per month or $48 per year instead of the $7.99 per month and $79 price point for non-members.
When it comes to subscription services, worth all comes down to how often you use what you’re paying for. As an example, Netflix is only worth the subscription cost if you watch enough TV and movies to offset the monthly fee.
If you pay for the $139 Prime plan, you’re paying about $11.58 a month. The monthly plan costs $14.99 per month. By subscribing, are you getting that money back in value each month?
To answer that question, think about how often you make purchases on Amazon and get free shipping as a result of Prime. Or consider how much you’re paying for shipping without a membership and see if that number is higher than what you’d pay for a membership.
If you buy your groceries online, you may be able to save some money through Amazon’s discounts. Adding perks like Prime Video and Music Prime sweeten the deal only as much as you watch movies and listen to music through those services.
Ready to become an Amazon Prime member? Head over to the Amazon Prime sign-up(Opens in a new window) page and click Start your free 30-day trial. Sign in with your existing Amazon account, or click Create your Amazon account if you don’t already have one. You then simply add a Prime membership on top of your free Amazon account.
You don’t have to get Amazon Prime for everyone in your house. Instead, set up an Amazon Household(Opens in a new window) to share your Prime account and all the benefits that come with it. Once set up, you can manage your Household(Opens in a new window) to add new members, remove anyone you previously added, share digital content with them, and share payment methods.
You can add up to two adults (including yourself), four teenagers, and four children to your household, which comes in handy when adding multiple users to the same Echo device.
If you need to cancel Amazon Prime, you can do it from Account & Lists > Account > Prime. Click Update, cancel, and more under the Manage Membership section, then select End membership at the bottom of the drop-down menu. Amazon will try to convince you to stay, but you can click Cancel My Benefits, then the Continue to Cancel button to follow through.
Living overseas? EU regulators think this process has too many steps, so Amazon is making it even easier to cancel your membership.
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