Stephanie Nelson | 

Is Amazon Prime Membership Worth $139 Fee? Ask Yourself These Questions to Find Out

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Amazon Prime’s $139 fee has many wondering if the membership is worth the cost. The most noteworthy benefit of Amazon Prime is the free shipping that comes along with it, but there are other factors to consider when deciding if this membership is right for you.

My mom always said don’t answer a question with a question. I listened to her about as well as my kids listen to me. So, is Amazon Prime Membership really worth the cost? I’ve got some questions for you in order to answer that. Sorry, Mom.

And at the end, you can tell me if you think Amazon Prime is worth it or not.

Already love your Prime membership? Then you should prepare for Amazon Prime Day and other Black Friday in July sales.

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1. How much does Amazon Prime cost?

An amazon prime cost per month vs annual expense screenshot

The price is $139 per year unless you’re eligible for a discounted Amazon Prime membership or get the Amazon Prime Student rate. You can pay yearly or you can pay monthly, but you’ll pay more overall if you go for the monthly membership. It’s $14.99 per month, which adds up to $179.88 — that’s almost $41 more than you’d pay for an annual membership.

Is Prime still worth it with the recent price increase? Probably. But let’s look at how you use your membership to see if it makes sense for you.

TIP: If you need Amazon Prime for nine months or less, it’s cheaper to pay monthly. Anything past nine months, though and you’re better off paying on an annual basis. Also, you can try the service out for 30 days with a free Amazon Prime trial.


2. Is the free shipping Prime benefit worth it?

A woman's hands opening an Amazon box with a knife, with more Amazon boxes on the table.

If you meet the minimum spend amount of $25 per Amazon order, you’ll get free, 5-8 day shipping even if you’re not a Prime member.

But consider this: If you make more than 27 small Amazon purchases of less than $25 per year, you’re paying for the cost of a Prime membership anyway, and you might as well get all the other benefits, which I’ll get into soon.

Why? Because non-Prime members pay about $5 in shipping fees for each order less than $25. A Prime membership costs $139 per year. So, following this logic, it’d take about 27 shipments (orders that cost less than $25) to cover your Prime membership.

TIP: Prime members in select markets also get access to free one-day shipping or even free same-day shipping on some products.


3. Do you like using Amazon Locker?

man looking at cellphone while typing on amazon hub locker keypad

If you don’t like packages sitting out on your porch all day, as a Prime member, you’ll get to use Amazon Lockers for free. Sure, non-Prime members can use them too. But they pay shipping fees like a regular Amazon delivery. So, again, do it 27+ times in a year and you’ll have paid the equivalent of a Prime membership without getting the benefits.

Another way Amazon tries to solve the packages-on-the-porch-all-day problem is by offering Prime members up to two Amazon Days per week. This is a day of your choice to receive Amazon orders (like a Saturday if you work out of the home all week.) Amazon will combine items into single packages as often as possible to give a shout-out to the planet too.


4. Do you want free Prime access to Amazon Music?

A woman, wearing headphones, sitting on a couch and using her laptop to look at Amazon's Prime Music page on their website.

Every Prime member gets on-demand access to Amazon Music Prime, which boasts over two million songs, ad free.

Sure, you can opt for Spotify or Apple Music instead. Both will run you $9.99 per month without any benefits beyond music streaming.

TIP: There is an even larger music library on Amazon: Amazon Music Unlimited. This service gives you access to 60 million songs, and it’s included in your Prime Membership benefits.

RELATED: With Spotify Increasing Its Prices, Is Amazon Music the Better Deal?


5. Do you want a free Twitch subscription through Prime?

With Prime Gaming, you get a free subscription to Twitch, plus access to lots of free games for PCs. The cost of a Twitch subscription itself is normally $4.99. You can pay more for subscriptions that come with extra emotes, but for the sake of comparison, we’ll just go with the basic, tier 1 package.

At $4.99/month, Prime in and of itself won’t save you money over purchasing directly through Twitch. But if you have a Prime membership anyway, it will save you an additional $60-ish per year since you won’t have to pay the separate Twitch subscription fee.


6. Would you use free Amazon grocery delivery?

A green amazon fresh delivery truck parked in a parking lot.

It’ll be Whole Foods delivery, Amazon Fresh, or Prime Now, depending on what’s offered in your area. Deliveries usually cost about $5 for non-Prime members, but they’re free for members. It’d take 27 deliveries to justify the cost of your Prime membership — or about two to three deliveries per month.


7. Do you want 20% off diapers with Amazon Family?

A person's hands holding up a Huggies diaper next to the diaper box and an Amazon delivery box.

Diapers are a budget buster for most families, so finding where to buy cheap diapers is one of the first parenting survival skills we learn.

Amazon Family is a dependable way to save on diapers. It’s a program just for Prime members to save up to 20% on diapers, wipes, formula — basically all things baby. You’ll set up recurring orders to get these savings.

Let’s say you’re buying boxes with about 168 diapers, and you need one of these boxes every three weeks. That’s 18 boxes per year, and on average, they cost $50/box. Your savings over the course of a year would be roughly $180. This in and of itself pays for your Prime membership, even if you’re paying by the month instead of by the year.


8. Is your favorite show an Amazon Original?

A person sitting on a couch and pointing a remote at a TV that is displaying the Home page of the Prime Video TV app.

If you’re obsessed with Harlem, The Marvelous Miss Maisel, The Expanse, or any other Amazon Original, you’re going to need an Amazon Prime membership to gain access to Prime Video.

Now that Netflix has raised prices, paying $14.99/month isn’t unheard of for a streaming service. But with Prime, you’ll get all the added benefits of free, 2-day shipping and 20% off diapers, too.


9. Are you willing to get your packages a few days later if it means free money?

Stay with me here. Yes, when you’re a Prime member you get free shipping. Free 2-day shipping in a lot of instances.

But also, you can choose “no-rush shipping” and get your package in five days instead of one or two, plus earn $1 toward eligible ebooks, movie rentals, and other digital purchases.

To earn even more, create separate orders for each of your items, and you’ll get Amazon promo credits every time you choose “no-rush shipping.”

No-rush shipping isn’t available for every item, though, so it’s not like you’ll be eligible for $1 in credit for every single order you place as a Prime member.


10. Do you want free access to e-books, even before they’re released?

A woman sitting on a couch, holding an iPad which is displaying the Amazon website's page for Prime Reading.
Every month, Amazon Prime members can download one free, pre-release ebook to a Kindle, iPhone, or Android device through Prime First Reads. You get to pick one title from the monthly list of editor picks.

You also get anytime access to thousands of well-known titles like Harry Potter or 7 Habits of Highly Effective People through Prime access to Kindle Unlimited.

Let’s say each book is valued at $8.99, which is a conservative estimate. The monthly free pre-releases would be worth about $108 over the course of a year. If you read 4 additional books through Kindle Unlimited over the course of the year, this aspect of Prime alone would pay for itself.

But if you’re not a big reader? It’s kind of a moot point.

RELATED: Get Access to 1,000+ Free eBooks on Stuff Your Kindle Day


11. Do you use Audible as you’re playing family taxi driver?

As a Prime member, you can access Amazon Audible and choose from a list of 50 audiobooks for free; titles change frequently.

Audible is pretty spendy by itself. You get just one audiobook per month, and it costs $14.95. You might as well pay the extra $0.04 to access all the benefits of Prime.


12. Do you like getting cash back on every Amazon purchase you make?

A person holding an Amazon Prime Visa credit card and a Whole Foods receipt in one hand while pointing to the receipt with their other hand.

…even at Whole Foods?

Prime members get access to the Amazon Prime Visa Signature credit card, which offers 5% cash back on all Amazon purchases, 2% off purchases at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores, and 1% back on all other purchases. For a limited time, you can even get 10% cash back on certain Prime purchases. Only Prime members are eligible for this higher percentage of savings.

If you spent $2,780 on Amazon (or Whole Foods) in one year, you’d get your membership fee ($139) back in the form of cash-back savings if that’s your goal. Otherwise, just enjoy getting cash back whenever you do make a purchase.


So, really, whether or not Amazon Prime Membership is worth it depends on why and how you’re using it. How about you? Does Amazon Prime actually save you money or is it not worth the cost? Leave your numbers in the comments!

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