What Deal Seekers Should Know About Amazon's 2024 Membership Cost

All we have to decide is what to do with the Prime that is given us
Published
Amazon Prime logo on the side of a van.

Over 180 million Americans reap the benefits of an Amazon Prime membership, according to estimates from Consumer Intelligence Retail Partners. For $139 a year, they enjoy perks like free shipping on millions of items, streaming music and videos, free photo storage, and reduced fees for concierge medical care. Which is obviously great if you already plan on making use of all of those, but if you're still on the fence about a Prime membership, you may find yourself asking if $139 is a somewhat steep annual price to pay for free shipping or to stream the occasional song or movie.

To help you choose whether or not an Amazon Prime membership is right for you, we've put together some details to help answer some frequently asked questions regarding benefits and savings available to Prime members.

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How Much Does an Amazon Prime Membership Cost?

The cost of an Amazon Prime membership varies by whether or not you choose to pay annually or monthly. Paying annually is the better bargain on a lump-sum payment, while paying monthly allows you to spread out the payments over the course of a year, or hold off on paying until you definitely need the service.

Prime memberships are available at a reduced cost to college students and individuals receiving government assistance.

Here are the annual and monthly Prime membership fees:

Prime Membership: $139 annually, or $14.99 monthly, with a 30-day free trial.

Prime Access Membership: $6.99 monthly ($83.88 annually). You must be enrolled in a government assistance program.

Prime Student Membership: $69 annually or $7.49 monthly, with a 6-month free trial. You need an .edu email address or proof of enrollment.

The following add-ons are available for all Prime memberships:

Prime Video Ad Free: For $2.99 monthly, you can watch videos without commercial interruption.

Prime Music On Demand: For $9.99 monthly, you can play any song on demand.

How Much Can I Save on a Prime Membership in 2024?

There are a number of ways to save on a Prime membership itself, including opting for a student or Prime Access membership – this guide to saving on Prime has a full accounting of your options. And that's just the start of the savings; with all the perks of an Amazon Prime membership, you can save a lot of money over the course of a year. If you place one Amazon order monthly, use Prime Video as your primary streaming service, listen to music using Amazon Music Prime, and have Amazon autoship your everyday household items on a regular basis, your Amazon Prime membership will more than pay for itself. One financial analyst estimated the value of an Amazon Prime membership to be approximately $1,000.

Here are some of the ways you can save money with Amazon Prime.

  • Free Shipping: Prime members receive free shipping on millions of items, with most orders arriving in two days or less.
  • Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market: Prime members pay lower prices for select items at both stores along with an extra 10% off on sale items at Whole Foods Market. Plus, Amazon just launched a new $9.99 subscription, offering Prime members and customers using EBT unlimited free delivery on orders of $35 or more from Whole Foods Market, Amazon Fresh, and local specialty retailers, and free 30-minute pickup from Whole Foods Market and Amazon Fresh with no minimum. Click here for more details on that.
  • Subscribe and Save: Prime members who purchase groceries, paper products, household items, beauty products, pet food, and office supplies regularly can save up to 15% by having these items delivered automatically at regular intervals.
  • Amazon Music Prime: Prime members have ad-free access to 100 million songs and podcasts.
  • Prime Video: Prime members can stream free movies, TV shows, and sports with limited commercials.
  • Prime Gaming: Prime members receive access to free games along with a free Twitch channel subscription.
  • Prime Reading: Prime members can borrow, at no charge, up to ten eBooks, magazines, and audio books to read at a time.
  • Amazon Photos: Prime members receive free unlimited photo storage and up to 5 GB of video storage.
  • Prime Days: Held in July and October, Amazon's huge sale events offer Prime members exclusive savings of up to 50% on a variety of items.
  • Lightning Deals: Prime members can view and purchase Lightning Deals, limited time specials with savings of up to 80% off, in advance.
  • Prime Rx: Prime members save up to 80% on prescriptions through a network of 60,000 pharmacies nationwide or online at Amazon Pharmacy.
  • Amazon Pharmacy: Prime members pay $1-5 monthly for individual generic drugs with two-day delivery. A subscription service offers multiple generic prescriptions for $5 monthly plus free shipping.
  • Grubhub+: Prime members receive a free one-year Grubhub+ membership (a $120 value), with no delivery fees and reduced service fees on restaurant orders.
  • Baby Registry: Prime members who are expectant parents receive a free welcome box with gifts and samples after setting up a baby registry, along with a 15% off completion discount (up to $300).
  • One Medical: Prime members receive access to One Medical's concierge medical office network and telehealth services for $9 per month ($108 annually), a savings of $91 over One Medical's regular $199 annual membership fee.
  • Buy With Prime: Prime members receive free shipping on eligible items from online merchants offering Buy With Prime at checkout.
  • Zappos, Woot, Shopbop: Prime members receive free shipping at Zappos, Woot, and Shopbop.

Can I Earn Cash Back with an Amazon Prime Membership?

With an Amazon Prime membership, you can earn unlimited cash back on purchases with an Amazon Visa or an Amazon Prime Visa card. New cardholders receive a welcome bonus and an introductory 0.00% APR.

Here are the differences between the Amazon Visa and Amazon Prime Visa cards:

Amazon Visa: Available to all Amazon customers, the Amazon Visa offers a $50 welcome bonus and the following cash back rates: 3% on Amazon.com, Amazon Fresh, and Whole Foods Market purchases, and travel booked via Chase Travel; 2% on restaurant meals, fuel purchases, rideshares, and commuter transit fares; and 1% on everything else.

Amazon Prime Visa: Available to Prime members only, the Amazon Prime Visa offers a $100 welcome bonus and the following cash back rates: 5% on Amazon.com, Amazon Fresh, and Whole Foods Market purchases, and travel booked via Chase Travel; 2% on restaurant meals, fuel purchases, rideshares, and commuter transit fares; 1% on everything else; and up to 10% through select bonus offers.

Prime members can use a non-Amazon rewards card to earn cash back. The cash back amount varies from 1-3%, with some cards issuing limited time offers that increase the cash back amount to 5% on Amazon purchases.

What Makes a Prime Membership Worth It?

If you're trying to decide whether or not an Amazon Prime membership is right for you, look at all the perks to find the ones that appeal to you the most and the ones you will use most often.

  • Shipping: If you paid more than $139 last year in shipping charges, an Amazon Prime membership will save you money.
  • Prime Video: An annual Prime membership costs less than the ad-free versions of Netflix, Max, Disney+, and Hulu. If you're content with Prime Video's offerings and don't subscribe to other streaming services, you'll recoup the cost of Prime.
  • Convenience: Prime members receive most items sold in two days or less. With Subscribe and Save, everyday essentials are automaticallty shipped at regular intervals at a savings of up to 15%.

If you're worried about paying $139 for Prime, you can share the cost with another family member or roommate, cutting it down to $70. If you're still trying to decide whether or not to become a Prime member, take advantage of the free trial and decide from there if a Prime membership works for you.

Can You Shop at Amazon Without a Membership?

It's hard to believe we'd need to answer this for anyone by now, but just in case: No, you don't need an Amazon Prime membership to shop on Amazon.com or at Amazon Fresh, Amazon Go, or Whole Foods. Non-Prime members, however, will pay more for some items, wait longer for deliveries, and may pay shipping fees.

  • Higher Prices: Amazon shoppers without a Prime membership are ineligible for Prime Days deals and may pay higher prices for some items. Non-Prime members pay higher prices for select items at Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market.
  • Shipping Times: Amazon customers without Prime usually receive Amazon orders in 5-8 days while Prime members receive Amazon orders in 1-2 days.
  • Shipping Fees: Amazon shoppers without a Prime membership must spend at least $35 on Prime-eligible items to receive free shipping.

How does shopping compare in-store vs online?

Amazon owns three brick-and-mortar chains, Amazon Fresh, Amazon Go, and Whole Foods Market. While an Amazon Prime membership is not required to shop at any of the stores, there are advantages for customers with a Prime membership.

  • Amazon Fresh: Amazon Fresh is a conventional supermarket with locations in metropolitan Los Angeles; Chicago; Seattle; Philadelphia; Washington, DC; Northern New Jersey; and Long Island, NY. The stores sell fresh meat, produce, and seafood; prepared foods; and both national brand and Amazon brand groceries. You can shop either in-store or online for pickup or delivery. Prime members can pick up Amazon Fresh orders at no charge. Prime members also receive free grocery delivery on orders above $100, otherwise a $7-10 delivery fee applies. Non-Prime members pay a $8-14 per order delivery fee.
  • Amazon Go: Amazon Go is a convenience store with locations in Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, and New York City that sell prepared meals, hot and cold beverages, snacks, and baked goods. The checkout-less stores use Just Walk Out technology where anything you walk out of the store with is automatically charged to the payment method you have on file with Amazon. Amazon Go offers no Prime exclusive promotions.
  • Whole Foods Market: Whole Foods Market offers fresh, prepared, and packaged food, along with household and beauty essentials. Most items are organic, minimally processed, locally grown or produced, cruelty-free, prepared fresh in-store, and contain few additives and preservatives. You can ship either in-store or online for pickup or delivery. Prime members receive an additional 10% off all sale items, excluding alcoholic beverages. Some items have special pricing for Prime members. Service fees for pick up orders above $35 are waived for Prime members. The service fee Prime members pay for home delivery orders is $10.

But of course, the vast, vast majority of what Amazon is are only available through its website, which makes it easy to compare their prices on electronics, bedding, apparel, and basically everything else against other leading stores. Plus, with same-day delivery available on many items, it might actually be quicker than making the time to go a brick-and-mortar store. You can also let the bold Niall Gosker take you through DealNews' guide to Amazon's return policy.

How Do You Save the Most at Amazon?

There are multiple ways you can save money at Amazon with an Amazon Prime membership. The savings extend beyond shopping to include entertainment, food delivery, and prescriptions. Here are some ways you can maximize your savings.

  • Free Delivery: Prime members receive free delivery on over 300 million items. Tens of millions of items are eligible for free same-day or next-day delivery.
  • Subscribe and Save: Prime members receive up to 15% off everyday items with automatic delivery at regular intervals.
  • Video and Music Streaming: Prime Video and Amazon Music Prime are included with a Prime membership.
  • Prime Day and Lightning Deals: Only Prime members can purchase Prime Day deals, with savings of up to 80% off. Amazon Prime members can view and purchase Lightning Deals in advance.
  • Groceries: Prime members receive exclusive discounts at Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market, an extra 10% off sale items at Whole Foods, and free two-hour grocery delivery at Amazon Fresh on orders of $100 or more.
  • Prescriptions: Prime members can have individual generic drug prescriptions filled for as low as $1 per month or multiple generic drug prescriptions filled for $5 a month.
  • Buy With Prime: Prime members receive free shipping on eligible items at online merchants who offer Buy With Prime.
  • Food Delivery: Prime members receive a free 1-year Grubhub+ trial membership, with no delivery fees on restaurant food deliveries.

Can I Share my Prime Membership?

Through Amazon Household, you can share some Amazon Prime membership benefits with other family members. You can manage your kids' profiles and place content restrictions, as needed.

Here are the details on how many family members can share a Prime membership with Amazon Household:

  • Up to two adults, both of whom must have Amazon accounts.
  • Up to four teens, ages 13-17, who can create their own Amazon logins to shop and stream content.
  • Up to four children, 12 and under, who can only access eBooks, apps, and games that you wish to share with them.

How Does Amazon Shopping Compare to Walmart?

Amazon's largest online retail membership competitor is Walmart. Just like Amazon Prime, Walmart+ offers its own set of perks, including free shipping and grocery delivery. Here are some of Walmart+'s membership benefits:

  • Shipping: Free standard or 1-2 day shipping on items sold by Walmart. Marketplace items are ineligible for free shipping. Freight surcharges still apply.
  • Grocery Delivery: Free same-day grocery delivery with a minimum order of $35.
  • Fuel Discounts: Up to ten cents off per gallon at Exxon, Mobil, Murphy USA, and Walmart gas stations. At Sam's Club fuel centers, Walmart+ members pay member prices.
  • Streaming Video: Walmart+ members receive a free Paramount+ Essential membership.
  • Streaming Music: Walmart+ members receive five free months of Apple Music.
  • Travel Discounts: Walmart+ members earn 2% to 5% back in Walmart Cash by booking vacation travel through a dedicated Expedia-run website.
  • Early Deal Access: Early access to Black Friday deals.

At $98 annually, a Walmart+ membership is less expensive than Amazon Prime. A Walmart+ membership may be worth it if you regularly shop at Walmart, want to receive Walmart merchandise quickly, prefer Paramount+'s video offerings, and fill up regularly at one of the gas stations offering member fuel discounts. Otherwise, an Amazon Prime membership gives you more benefits and perks.

If you regularly order with Amazon, you'll find having an Amazon Prime membership is worth the expense. If you take full advantage of Prime's membership perks, like music and video streaming, earning cash back from an Amazon Visa card, taking advantage of Lightning Deals and Prime Day specials, utilizing the Grubhub+ membership for one year, or receiving an extra discount on Whole Foods Market sale prices, you'll more than recoup the $139 membership fee. Even if you only use some of the perks, if you share your Prime membership with a family member or roommate, it will more than pay for itself.

Prime member or not, you can check out the latest Amazon deals on their store page. Looking for very specific drops? Set up a Deal Alert. And if you want the day's hottest deals delivered right to your inbox, sign up to the DealNews Select newsletter.

Alan Byrne
Editor

Alan was recently named "The New Face of DealNews™" by himself, which is a step up from his previous title, "The King of the Run-on Sentence", although this latter – equally unofficial – title clearly remains the more accurate by some distance. He's a Dublin-based editor for this very website.
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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