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 costs $119 a 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 2-hour delivery in many cities. 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 Accounts & Lists at the top of the Amazon homepage, select the "Your Prime Membership" option in the drop-down menu, and then click "End Trial and Benefits" on the left rail of the page.

SEE ALSO: Amazon Quietly Killed a Popular Prime Shipping Perk

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.

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

You also get Prime college deals, as well as access to Twitch Prime — which comes with perks such as game freebies, a free Twitch channel subscription, a preorder price guarantee, and release-date delivery.

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.

Amazon has historically cut its Prime membership prices in response to big company events, such as Golden Globe and Emmy wins.

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

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.

Find a Generous Family Member or Roommate

Fans of the sharing economy, this one's for you! Prime members can create a household, adding one adult and up to four teens and four children to a single Prime account. 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 New Cardholders

Prime members who sign up for the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card get $70 in Amazon gift card credit upon immediate approval, 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: Is the Amazon Prime Discount at Whole Foods Actually Good?

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.

No More Prime Extensions

In the past, Amazon offered Prime members a free month of service if a package missed its guaranteed delivery date. However, last year, users noticed this benefit was becoming increasingly rare. And in September, we learned the popular perk is no more. Now you can reach out to customer service when an order misses the deadline, and you may be rewarded with a $5-to-$10 credit — basically the cost of shipping.

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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