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What Does Amazon Prime Cost, and Can You Get It Cheaper?

Before you settle into shelling out $119 a year, check out all the ways you can get Amazon Prime for free — or at least get it for less.
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How Much Is Amazon Prime?

Amazon Prime is $119 for the first year, or you can opt to pay $12.99 per month. But there are several ways to pay less than full price.

Here's How to Get Amazon Prime for Free (or Cheap)

Since Amazon Prime launched in 2005 with free 2-day shipping, plenty of perks have been added to the service — including free eBooks, early access to Lightning Deals, and even 1-hour delivery from local restaurants. But you're looking to save even more.

Here's how to get free Amazon Prime if you qualify, and how to save on your subscription if you don't.

Everyone Gets 30 Days Free

When you first sign up for Prime, you'll get a free 30-day trial of the service. You can cancel at no cost if you do so before the trial ends — go to Your Account and then the Manage Your Prime Membership page, and click "End Trial and Benefits."

If you keep it after the free trial, Amazon Prime costs $9.92 per month if you opt for the $119 per-year plan. That's obviously a better bet than those $12.99 monthly installments. If you have an EBT or Medicaid card, you can also join Prime at a discounted rate. For those who qualify, Prime is only $5.99 per month.

Students Get 6 Months Free

If you're a college or university student with a valid .edu email address, you can get a Prime Student account, which has a 6-month free trial. After that lapses, you'll pay just $59 per year for four years (or until you graduate, whatever happens first). There's also an option to pay monthly for Prime Student at a rate of $6.49 per month. After signing up, a verification email is sent to your .edu account, but the email address on your Amazon account can be a personal one.

SEE ALSO: What Is Amazon Prime: All of the Benefits You Get With a Membership

During the free student trial, you get many of the Prime perks, including the following:

You also get Prime college deals, as well as Twitch Prime — which comes with game freebies, a free Twitch channel subscription, discounts on box game preorders, release-date delivery, and ad-free viewing.

After the free trial, you're eligible for most Prime benefits. If you already have a Prime membership, it's possible to switch from a regular Prime account to Prime Student.

When Does Amazon Prime Go on Sale?

Amazon has historically cut its Prime membership prices in response to big company events. For example, Amazon offered a discounted $73 membership after its series Mozart in the Jungle garnered wins at the 2016 Golden Globe Awards. The company has done the same after Emmy wins, so many discount-watchers were surprised when that Emmy discount didn't happen in 2016.

However, in November of that year, Amazon took $20 off a yearlong membership to promote The Grand Tour, one of its original series. So far in 2018, there have been no discount days, so it seems like Amazon is looking to become less predictable about its Prime discount promotions.

Free Amazon Prime for Current Members

If you're a member and your package arrives after the guaranteed delivery time — even if it's a matter of hours — you can request a 1-month extension for free. For example, if you have a yearlong membership lasting through June, your membership would be extended through July at no cost.

If your package arrives after the guaranteed delivery time — even if it's a matter of hours — you can request a 1-month extension for free.

Some restrictions exist, such as those pertaining to inclement weather or certain shipping preferences being checked, but Amazon will usually extend membership. Don't believe it? DealNews staff (and some readers) have confirmed this perk.

Snag More Free Trials

Signing up for services from companies such as AT&T, Sprint Mobile, and Frontier Communications can get you a year of free Prime membership.

And according to at least one Amazon rep, if you don't renew your Prime membership, Amazon also offers another 30-day trial after a period of time. (Really, though, this seems like asking for some bad karma.)

Find a Generous Family Member or Roommate

Fans of the sharing economy, this one's for you! Prime members can create a household and add one adult and up to four teens and four children to a single Prime account, provided you have the same address. You can split the membership cost, deduct from allowances — or even hope the other person foots the bill!

There's just one thing to keep in mind, should an acrimonious breakup suddenly make your Prime sharing more awkward: Adults that leave a Prime household cannot join another for 180 days.

Prime Student accounts are only eligible for Twitch benefit sharing, and student members can't create households to share benefits. (That roommate is okay to play video games with, but do you really want to share payment info with someone who subsists on cold pizza?)

Amazon Prime Is Cheaper for Cardholders

Prime members who sign up for the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card get $70 in Amazon gift card credit, so that pays for a good portion of the $119 yearly membership fee. Prime members also get 5% back from Amazon and Whole Foods purchases. Those without a Prime membership can apply for the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card, and are eligible for 3% cash back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases.

SEE ALSO: UPDATE: Yes, Whole Foods Is Giving Discounts to Amazon Prime Members

Other Amazon Prime card perks include 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% back on other purchases. For more info about the credit card, check out our full rundown.

Don't Forget About the Unlimited Trials!

Before beginning a Prime trial, you can also check out some of the Unlimited trials, such as those for Amazon Music Unlimited or Kindle Unlimited. The music and reading selections included for free in Prime alone are — you guessed it — more limited, so trying out these premium paid services is definitely worth your time.

Readers, do you have any additional tips on how to get Amazon Prime for free? Share them in the comments below!

Contributing Writer

Josie Rubio is a Brooklyn, New York-based freelance editor and writer. She has visited five continents so far and loves to write about travel, food, nutrition, health... and pretty much everything. Follow her on Twitter at @JosieRubio.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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@crocostimpy: Shhhh! It says "provided you have the same address" in the Find a Generous Family Member or Roommate section above.
The thing about the teen membership is that the teen marks something that they want to buy, it gets forwarded to a parent, and the parent makes the purchase. Not exactly what my son who doesn't live at home is looking for.