Currently, Amazon Prime is available to new members for $99. Learn How To Get Amazon PRIME Membership FREE for Lifetime
Amazon announced last year that it will raise the price of its Amazon Prime service from $79 to $99 per year.
The price hike is the first for Amazon Prime in the program’s nine-year history, and the online retail giant said the increase was necessary to offset the fuel and transportation costs needed to deliver millions of items in two days, for free.
In those nine years, meanwhile, Amazon also added Instant Video streaming to Prime and a handful of other perks. At the end of the day, members are only paying $20 more a year or about $1.66 more per month – pocket change. But this is the Internet, so some people were predictably peeved.
If you’re pondering if Amazing Prime is still right for you, you’re not alone. In February, UBS analysts surveyed Amazon customers about Amazon Prime renewal likelihood. Results showed 94 percent of Amazon Prime customers were likely to renew at the $79 price point, but if the price increased by $20, only 58 percent were likely to renew.
But for those who want to hold on to that $79-per-year fee for as long as possible, there are a few workarounds to put off paying $99, for now. Amazon is offering new Prime customers the $79 rate if they join by March 20. But here are some other tricks.
1. Gift Yourself An Amazon Prime Membership
As Time pointed out, there is somewhat of a loophole for current members. Just purchase an Amazon Prime Gift Membership to lock in the $79 first-year rate. To avoid any overlay, you can set the self-gifted membership to begin the day after your current membership expires.
2. Join Amazon Student
Students still get a discounted Amazon Prime rate when they join Amazon Student. Although the price has jumped $10 to $49, it’s now half off a regular membership. To qualify as a student, though, you’ll need a .edu email address.
3. Use the Always Free Super Saving Shipping
Amazon will continue to offer free shipping on orders of $35 or more. With millions of items, it’s not hard to rack up enough items to hit the $35 mark – which is well below the average free shipping requirement online. Worst case, buy something to get the free shipping and simply return it upon arrival.
4. Get a Subscribe & Save Membership
Shoppers who tend to buy the same things should look into a Subscribe & Save Membership. Although it does not cover everything on the site, members can save up to 15 percent on orders and receive free shipping on every Subscribe & Save order. Members must select eligible items, and choose a delivery schedule to subscribe. While it’s not as expensive as an Amazon Prime Membership, it is convenient and worth a look.
5. Install the Zinc Plug-in to Offset to Shipping Costs
Zinc, a handy plugin guarantees to save you money on every order at Amazon (along with Walmart, Macy’s, and Target). Released less than a month ago, the plugin is free and works with Google Chrome. When tested, it didn’t necessarily cover the full shipping cost, but it did provide a discount with little work involved.
6. Get A Credit Card with Prime as a Perk
Credit card companies such as American Express often offer Amazon Prime as a free perk for new members. Be sure to read the fine print for spending minimums, however.
7. Shop on Amazon, and Buy On Other Sites with Free Shipping
Amazon competitor ShopRunner jumped right into the action following Amazon’s announcement by offering existing Amazon Prime members a complimentary one-year membership of unlimited two-day shipping for switching. Normally, ShopRunner members will pay a $79 annual membership fee and $8.95 per month for the service. ShopRunner has 85 partner stores for which members can receive free shipping, and the company offers regular incentives, including a 30-day free trial and discounts for American Express members.
Alternatively, you can always find other ways to get free shipping on the Web. FreeShipping.org has a continually updated database of thousands of free shipping coupon codes for a massive number of online stores. Browser add-ons such as PriceBlink.com, Coupons at Checkout, InvisibleHand, and Honey will automatically find coupon codes and discounts, many for free shipping, at thousands of online stores.
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