Update: There are just hours left to lock in $99 Prime via buying a Prime Gift Membership before the price goes up tonight!
Originally posted on 4/26:
In 2014 Amazon was charging $79 for Prime membership and said that they believed they could charge up to $119 per year. At the time they only raised it to $99, but effective 5/11/18 the cost of Prime membership for new members will climb to $119 per year.
Existing members will be able to renew until 6/15, but renewals on 6/16 will also go up to $119 per year.
The student rate will go up from $49 to $59. There’s no word on whether the Medicaid/EBT cardholder rates will increase from $5.99/month of $71.88/year. One caveat is that Amazon Student Prime, Medicaid and EBT Prime members can’t share benefits with household members. Regular Amazon Prime members can share the full Prime benefits with another household member. A nice benefit of that is that when there is a Prime member exclusive deal that is limited to just one per account, you and someone else in your household can take advantage of the deal.
Monthly Prime members will continue to pay $12.99 per month, which comes out to $155.88 per year if you don’t want to pay in advance. Monthly Prime Student members continue to pay $6.49 per month, which comes out to $77.88 per year if you don’t want to pay in advance.
Want to lock in $99 Prime membership for future years?
I locked in several years of $79 Prime membership back in 2014 and they continue to work perfectly. This method provides also provides a hedge even if Amazon decides to raise the price of Prime again in the future. Here’s how to do it:
You can buy $99 Prime Gift Memberships here. You can buy as many as you’d like, but you’ll have to buy them one at a time.
Tax on Amazon Prime Memberships is collected based on whether your default address is in one of these states. You can buy Prime Gift Memberships with Amazon gift cards, so if you have Amazon gift cards and have an address in a state without tax on a Prime Membership (such as Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, or Virginia) you can use that as your default address for an Amazon Prime Gift Membership and avoid paying tax on the membership.
You can use your Chase Ink Cash card and get 5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent by buying Amazon gift cards at Office Max/Depot or Staples. Click Here to get more details on this card and compare to other business travel cards! You should have until 5/10 to buy Amazon gift cards and lock in Prime Gift Memberships at the $99 rate. Of course you don’t need to use a gift card to lock this in, but that way you’ll earn 5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent and can avoid paying taxes on Prime membership.
You can have Prime Gift Memberships emailed to you or a friend. Just select to have it sent now and you can file the gift memberships away in a folder in your email. There is no limit to how many Prime Gift Memberships that you can buy. They will always be good for a full year of Prime, no matter what the price for Prime is when they are used, and they will never expire!
When you send yourself a gift year of Prime you will get an email with a special link that instantly gives a year of Prime to whatever account opens the special link. If you click on the link and have an active Prime membership it will ask you if you want to convert the membership into a gift card for the amount paid for the Prime gift membership. If you paid tax for the Prime Gift then you will also get the tax back as a gift card.
You need to click on the link after your Prime membership expires in order to use it for another year of Prime.
A regular Prime membership is set to auto-renew. To use the Prime Gift Membership, you will need to set your Prime not to auto-renew.
To do so, click on this link and select “Do not continue” or select “End Membership and Benefits”
You will be asked if you want to end your Prime benefits. Select “End My Benefits.”
Confirm that you want to end your benefits at the end of your membership that you have already paid for:
You will get a confirmation that your Prime membership will end on a future date:
After that date, just click on the Prime Gift Membership link in your email to enroll in another year of Prime at the $99 price that you locked in!
Decide that you no longer want Prime? You can convert the amount you paid back into an Amazon gift card by scrolling to the bottom of the email and locating the link in this paragraph:
You can buy as many gifts of Prime as you want. You can use it for yourself or give it as a gift in the future to anyone else.
If you have gift card funds locked in one Amazon account and you want to transfer the funds to someone else you can buy Prime gift subscriptions with your gift cards and send them the gift to another Prime account! That other account can then turn the gift membership back into gift cards in their account.
Note that if you are grandfathered into the old Prime sharing system you can’t use this workaround as it requires letting your old Prime expire before enrolling again. Under new Prime sharing rules you can only share Prime with 1 other person and payment details are shared as well between those accounts. Though under the new system Prime benefits like Amazon Family and Prime Video are usable by both accounts.
Amazon Prime member benefits include:
- Exclusive access to discounted deals.
- Free 2 day shipping on all Amazon orders
- Free shipping on all orders from Woot
- Free instant video streaming
- Free Prime music
- Kindle lending library
- Free full-res unlmited photo storage in the cloud.
- Prime pantry access
- 30 minute priority access to lightning and Black Friday deals
- Access to exclusive sales like Prime Day, and other Prime member only sales.
- Prime Twitch Video Game Benefits
- If you have Amazon Prime you can select “FREE No-Rush Shipping” when making an order and you’ll get a bonus such as a $1 Amazon eBooks, digital music and videos credit, a $3 Amazon.com credit, a $5.99 Prime Pantry credit, a $20 Amazon Home Services credit, etc. You can view your no-rush credits here.
- Amazon Prime members can opt into Amazon Family where you’ll also get up to 20% off subscription orders of diapers and 15% off to complete unordered items from a baby registry.
- Several times per year Amazon Prime members can get free magazine subscriptions.
- Prime members also get access to Amazon Prints for inexpensive photo and photobook printing with free shipping.
- With Prime Reading you can browse the full version thousands of books and magazines free of charge from your smartphone, tablet, or Kindle via the Kindle app.
- Prime members who make a wedding registry can even save 20% off items that weren’t purchased off their registry!
How many years of $99 Prime membership will you lock in?Amazon offers free shipping with $25+ orders or get free 2nd day shipping on all orders with a free trial of Amazon Prime. A prime trial is also free with Amazon Family (which also gets you up to 20% off diapers among other benefits) or Amazon Student. EBT Cardholders can save on Prime Membership here.