For a while, I held out on getting an Amazon Prime membership. Fancying myself an advance planning wunderkind, I saw no need to pay $100 a year for free shipping on things I could get free shipping on if I thought ahead and bought them at least two weeks in advance. How hard was that? And then I had a third kid, got a more demanding job, and genuinely laugh at my former self’s hubris.
Now, as someone whose kids watch Prime Video daily, who buys nearly every birthday and Christmas gift from Amazon (last minute), and sees dollars magically drop off my Whole Foods receipts during each visit, I’m the skeptic-turned-true-believer poster child for Amazon Prime membership. And while I don’t love the recently announced membership price increase—I know it’s worth another $1.66/month.
The details of the price hike
Citing increasing wages and transportation costs, Amazon announced earlier this month that the cost of their Amazon Prime membership will be increasing from $119 to $139 annually (for monthly subscribers, the cost will increase from $12.99 to $14.99/month). For new subscribers, the price hike will take effect on Feb. 18, 2022, while existing subscribers won’t see an increase until whenever their subscription renews after March 25.
Depending on how much you use Amazon’s services—from free two-day shipping and Prime Video access to Try Before You Buy and unlimited cloud storage on Amazon Photos—the extra $20 per year could seem anywhere from totally worth it, to a reason to finally cancel your subscription for good. (For reference, this year’s hike from $119 to $139 annually represents a 17% increase. The last time Amazon Prime raised its annual subscription rate was in 2018; also a $20 rise).
How to lock in another year at the current rate
There’s a way to game the system and lock in the $119 annual rate for at least another year (or two), though. If you’re not already a member, subscribe before Feb. 18. While you’re there, purchase yourself a Prime Gift Membership to be activated before your regular subscription auto-renews. As a new customer, this will theoretically get you two years at the current rate.
For existing Prime members, simply buy a gift membership before Feb. 18. Then from the Amazon homepage, navigate to: Memberships and Subscriptions>Prime Membership Settings>Manage Membership to cancel auto-renewal (if it is set to renew after March 25 at the higher rate). Take note of your membership’s expiration date, and when it ends, promptly re-subscribe using your gift membership.
Theoretically, you could purchase more than one Prime gift membership for various members of your family and keep the $119/year rate for a few years. We weren’t able to find any information on whether they expire, so be sure to check the fine print when purchasing.
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