From free shipping to unlimited streaming, Amazon Prime offers several benefits to paying members. But is the $139 annual price worth it?
I’ve checked out the perks of Prime membership and compared them to alternative services to see whether or not you’re getting a good deal as a paying Prime member.
In this article, I’ll take a closer look at the benefits offered by Amazon Prime to help you decide.
This article was updated in June 2023 and I review it every 12 months. Detailed notes on all updates can be found here.
Amazon Prime: Is It Worth $139 Annually?
You’ve most likely placed an order from Amazon before or heard of a show streaming on Amazon Prime Video. If so, you may also have wondered if you should sign up for a Prime membership.
In 2022, Amazon Prime raised its price to $139 for an annual subscription. While this can seem like a lot to pay for online shopping upfront, you may be surprised by how much Prime members can actually save.
I checked out all the benefits offered to Prime members and compared the cost of similar services including shipping, streaming and grocery delivery.
If you’re already familiar with the cost and benefits of Amazon Prime, feel free to skip ahead to the cost comparison here.
Table of Contents:
- What Is Amazon Prime?
- Benefits of Amazon Prime
- How Much Is Amazon Prime?
- Is Amazon Prime Worth It?
- Final Thoughts
Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of an Amazon Prime membership and if it makes sense in your budget.
What Is Amazon Prime?
Amazon Prime is Amazon’s paid subscription service. Prime members have access to a variety of services including free shipping, unlimited streaming and more.
According to the company’s February 2022 filing, “Prime members are taking advantage of program benefits in record numbers. In 2021, members in the U.S. received more than 6 billion free deliveries, and over 200 million Prime members worldwide streamed shows and movies.”
On February 3, 2022, Amazon announced price increases for Prime membership plans. The monthly membership now costs $14.99 and the annual membership now costs $139.
You can check out a full list of membership benefits below.
10 Benefits of Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime is often associated with free shipping, and that’s probably the biggest benefit of the service. In fact, if you pay $5.99 for Amazon shipping just twice a month, that adds up to $144 a year. At that rate, your Prime membership will pay for itself based on shipping alone. However, this isn’t the only benefit you’ll get with Amazon Prime.
In addition to free delivery, Prime members also have access to Prime Video, Amazon Music, Prime Gaming, Prime Reading, Rx savings, unlimited photo storage, free grocery delivery, early Prime Day access, exclusive deals and discounted services.
Below, you’ll find a full list of Amazon Prime benefits.
Free shipping is perhaps one of the biggest perks that come with an Amazon Prime membership. Once you sign up for Prime, you’ll have access to free delivery as fast as the same day in some areas on eligible items.
In addition to unlimited free shipping on millions of items from Amazon, Prime also includes free shipping on orders from Woot, shopbop and Zappos.
Here are the full benefits that Prime members can expect with free delivery:
- Free Two-Day Delivery: Millions of items are delivered fast and free.
- Free One-Day Delivery: available on more than 20 million items with no minimum purchase
- Free Same-Day Delivery: Available in select areas on more than 3 million items for qualifying orders over $35: Order in the morning, typically before noon, and get your items by 9 p.m.
- Free No-Rush Shipping and Amazon Day: Simply pick a day that works for you, shop with Amazon Day throughout the week, and Amazon will deliver orders together on the day you choose.
- Amazon Key: Get your packages delivered for free inside your garage.
- Prime-Exclusive Shipping Benefits on Woot!: Prime members get free standard shipping on all Woot! orders and free express shipping on Shirt.Woot purchases.
- Free Shipping at shopbop: free two-day shipping and next-day shipping at shopbop.com.
- Free Upgraded Shipping at Zappos: Get free expedited shipping on all Zappos orders.
Prime Video is another huge perk of Amazon Prime. Members have access to thousands of shows and movies, including popular Amazon Originals, for free. You can stream shows and movies on practically any device with Amazon’s free apps. Outside of a few previews of other TV shows and movies on the platform, you can stream unlimited video with no ads.
Prime members are also eligible for discounts for access to streaming popular TV channels including Max, Showtime, Starz and more. No cable is required, you can cancel anytime and there are no additional apps to download. The cost of these add-on channels ranges from $1.99–$20.99 per month for Prime members.
Amazon Music Prime allows you to stream more than two million songs including thousands of stations and top playlists ad-free. Plus, Amazon Music Prime includes millions of podcast episodes. You can stream on your Echo device, phone or on your desktop computer.
Prime members can also join Amazon Music Unlimited at a 20% discount. It includes unlimited access to some 100 million songs in HD, ad-free music on-demand, offline listening with unlimited skips and more.
Amazon’s Prime Day is practically an official holiday at this point, and Prime Members have access to exclusive deals, early access savings, free delivery and more.
According to Amazon’s website, Prime Day is an annual two-day shopping event exclusive for Prime members delivering incredible savings and deep discounts on over one million deals across every category.
Prime Gaming, included in your Prime membership, provides access to new free PC games every month that you can keep forever. It also provides access to free in-game content and one free subscription to a Twitch channel of your choice every month.
Prime members get access to exclusive deals and services offered by Amazon. This includes exclusive prices on thousands of items every day, early access to lightning deals and Prime’s “Try Before You Buy” program for apparel and accessories.
According to Amazon’s website, here are all the exclusive deals and savings Prime members have access to:
- Prime Exclusive Deals: Enjoy deals every day on thousands of items available only to Prime members.
- FREE Release-Date Delivery: Be among the first to get new video games, books, music, movies and more. Choose Release-Date Delivery on qualified items and receive your package by 9 p.m. on that date.
- Prime Early Access: Get 30-minute early access to Lightning Deals on Amazon.com.
- Prime Try Before You Buy: Try on clothes, shoes, jewelry and accessories at home with no upfront charge, and pay only for what you keep.
- Personal Shopper by Prime Try Before You Buy: styling service for men’s and women’s fashion exclusively for Prime members ($4.99 per styling)
- Amazon Kids+: This is an all-in-one subscription that gives kids access to thousands of kid-friendly books, movies, educational apps and games on compatible devices.
Members can save on prescriptions with Amazon Prime. You can visit the website to search for your medication and compare the cost at more than 60,000 pharmacies including Amazon Pharmacy.
In addition to instant price comparing and exclusive savings, you’ll also get fast, free two-day delivery when you fill a prescription with Amazon Pharmacy.
Amazon Prime provides access to unlimited entertainment including video streaming, music streaming and reading materials. In fact, your Prime membership includes access to a rotating library of more than 2,000 e-books, magazines, comics and more with Prime Reading.
Here are a couple more reading benefits you’ll get with Prime:
- Amazon First Reads: Read next month’s new releases today. Each month, Prime members can download one editor’s pick for free — before the official publication date. Downloaded titles are yours to keep.
- Free Titles at Audible: Prime members are invited to start an Audible Premium Plus trial with two credits that can be used on any titles.
Photo storage is another perk of Amazon Prime. With your membership, you’ll be able to back up and share your photos with unlimited, full-resolution photo storage.
Prime members have free unlimited photo storage and 5GB of video storage. You can add your photos and videos from any device with Amazon’s free apps and then view them from anywhere.
You can learn more about Amazon Photos here.
In select areas, Amazon offers free two-hour delivery on a wide selection of groceries including meat, seafood, produce, snacks and household essentials. You can schedule a 1-hour pickup or a 2-hour delivery window for free with Prime.
You can shop for produce, national brands and Amazon favorites through Amazon Fresh or place an order from Whole Foods Market. If you do shop at Whole Foods, Prime members have access to exclusive discounts and offers on qualifying items both in-store and online.
How Much Is Amazon Prime?
Amazon Prime clearly offers several great benefits to paying members, but how much is it exactly? Since the price increases in February 2022, here’s how much a Prime membership costs:
- Monthly Prime membership: $14.99
- Annual Prime membership: $139
- Prime Student monthly membership: $7.49
- Prime Student annual membership: $69
- EBT and government assistance recipients: $6.99 monthly
All of the Amazon Prime membership options include the same full access to Prime benefits.
Prime Student also includes free food delivery with GrubHub, a free month of Course Hero 24/7 homework help, 3 months free of the Calm app and up to 10% off flights and hotels through StudentUniverse.
Qualifying EBT and government assistance recipients are eligible for 50% off the monthly Prime price with full access to the same benefits.
You can cancel your Prime membership at any time.
Is Amazon Prime Worth It?
After considering the perks of Amazon Prime and the total cost of membership, the final question remains: Is Amazon Prime worth it?
For most people, Amazon Prime is going to be worth the cost. Your Prime membership will likely pay for itself over the course of a year with free shipping alone. When you consider free shipping in addition to all the other benefits of Prime, the $139 annual cost can easily be worth it.
To get an idea of how much you’d pay for the biggest perks of Prime without the membership itself, I compared the cost of similar services as of June 2023.
After looking at the cost of shipping, video streaming, music streaming, grocery delivery and photo storage, here’s what I found:
|Cost Without Prime/Similar Service
|Fast, free shipping on millions of items with no minimum purchase; free one-day delivery is also available in eligible areas
|$5.99 per order for standard shipping
2 orders per month = $143.76 per year
|Unlimited access to HD movies and TV shows without advertisements
|Standard Netflix Subscription: $15.49 per month
$185.88 per year
|Unlimited access to over 2 million songs
|Spotify: $9.99 per month
$119.88 per year
|Free 2-hour grocery delivery from Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market
|Instacart Express: $9.99 per month
$99 per year
|Unlimited photo storage and 5GB of additional storage for videos and documents
|Amazon Photos: 100GB of photo storage for $19.99 per year
Without Prime, the cost of shipping and similar services for video streaming, music streaming, grocery delivery and photo storage could easily come to $568.51 for the year.
Given Amazon Prime’s $139 annual cost, that’s a savings of $429.51 compared to similar services and the cost of shipping. This cost comparison also doesn’t take into consideration access to Prime Gaming, Prime Reading, Rx savings and other exclusive savings for Prime members.
If you frequently shop online, stream entertainment or order groceries, it is easy to make the case for Amazon Prime in your budget.
Ultimately, Amazon Prime’s $139 annual price is likely going to be worth it for most people. If you shop online at least twice a month, Amazon Prime will pay for itself in shipping alone over the course of a year. Not only that, but if you are already a Prime member, you can earn unlimited 5% back Amazon.com, Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market with the Prime Visa.
In addition to free shipping, an Amazon Prime membership also includes access to unlimited video streaming, music streaming, reading, photo storage, Rx savings, grocery delivery and other exclusive deals and discounts.
Amazon Prime may not be worth it if you don’t frequently shop online or if you already pay for other video or music streaming services. Amazon Prime may also not be worth it if you live in an area where you can’t take full advantage of the benefits such as same-day or next-day shipping or grocery delivery.
If you haven’t been an Amazon Prime member in the last 12 months, you can sign up for a free trial to test it out first. I’ve also been offered one-week trials of Amazon Prime for $1.99 in the past, which can be a great way to save on Prime benefits like fast, free shipping.
Do you find that the benefits of Amazon Prime outweigh the cost? Let us know how you save money with Prime in our Clark.com Community!
- June 14, 2023: Updated pricing, availability and selection across all perks