When was the last time you thought about how much you pay for Amazon Prime?
Was it when you ordered a last-minute package of batteries, re-watched “Fleabag” in a day, or had Whole Foods deliver a week’s worth of snacks to your apartment?
More than 200 million people are Amazon Prime members. The cost of an Amazon Prime membership shot up to $139 a year in the United States this year, from $119 before. (If you want to do smaller payments, it’s now $14.99 a month.) The price has increased since the membership option launched in 2005 for $79 a year, but the list of what it includes has also ballooned with beneficial offerings (Prime Video streaming) and many less useful ones (a personal shopping service that will still cost you $4.99 per styling).
There are other issues you should consider when deciding to do the bulk of your shopping on Amazon. The proliferation of third-party sellers in its marketplace can make it more difficult to determine the quality and if you’re getting the best price. And Amazon is such a powerful, longtime force in online shopping that sometimes it’s easy to forget that there are alternatives to get your goods or order your groceries. The company’s Prime service is facing increased competition from other retailers with fast shipping and large selections.
Let’s find out if you still benefit financially from the membership, or if there’s life after Prime. Answer the following questions and we can help you decide if it’s still worth paying for Amazon. We also share some tips on how you can pay less.
(Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
Unlimited fast shipping has always been the core benefit of Amazon Prime and if you use it enough, it could equal the cost of paying for one- or two-day shipping without Prime. But with newer competitors like Walmart Plus and Amazon’s own free shipping for orders over $25 for non-Prime members, it may not be enough to justify $139 a year for everyone.
Anybody can stroll into a Whole Foods, but there are a number of grocery benefits only available if you’re paying for Amazon Prime. Only Prime members can get Whole Foods delivery, but it will cost $9.95 plus tip. Prime members can also get groceries delivered from Amazon Fresh at no additional cost if they spend more than $35 in some areas.
One of Amazon Prime’s perks is its video streaming service, Prime Video, which is included in the membership. A competitor to Netflix, Hulu and HBO Max, the service has the usual mixture of old reliable shows and original programming. You have to pay extra for some desirable titles and new releases, and Prime has a lot of competition when it comes to original content.
Amazon touts around 35 Prime benefits, but not all of them are worth the price of admission. There are some real values, but the rest are a mix of regular discounts or deals that only work if you pay even more money on top of your membership.