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Today Is the Last Day to Get Amazon Prime at the Lower Rate

Amazon announced that it will start charging $99 a year for Prime, but there's still time to lock in the lower rate.
Updated

The writing was on the wall the entire time. It began with rumors of a price increase, which quickly came to fruition in Europe. Then, with the blink of an eye, many of us awoke to a message from Amazon in our inbox notifying us of the new $99 per year price of Prime. (Students will pay $49 per year.)

Don't freak out just yet! This new rate won't go into effect until April 17, which means there's still time to subscribe at the current rate and enjoy it for a full year before this hike affects you. But, there isn't much time. Because of the mandatory 1-month free trial before billing, today is your last chance to subscribe and lock in the $79 rate. Current subscribers will not need to pay $99 until their membership is up for renewal, although as a user points out in the comments below, you can buy a gift subscription at the current rate and use it once your current membership is up.

Is it Still Worth Renewing or Subscribing to Prime?

While 65% of our readers said they'd drop Prime in the event of a price hike, there might still be good reason to renew, especially in light of the competition. For those of us invested in the Amazon ecosystem, Amazon Prime is still a tremendous value. Kindle Fire owners get streaming access to 40,000 commercial-free movies and TV shows — number that's bound to grow as Amazon secures more partnership deals, rolls out 4K streaming, and pumps out more of its own exclusive content.

Beyond movies and TV shows, which some people might already get via Netflix or Hulu subscriptions, Amazon tablet owners also get access to the Kindle's Lending Library, which lets you borrow books from Amazon's 500,000+ eBook library. Many of those titles are New York Times bestsellers, which you can check out sans due date. Moreover, we've occasionally noticed special product discounts for Prime subscribers. And lastly, Prime also buys you 2-day shipping and discounts on 1-day shipping (with Sunday delivery in some locations). It's true that they won't always have the best price, but Amazon's exhaustive catalog of products is impressive and unparalleled by any competitor.

But if the thought of paying $2 more per month for Amazon Prime still makes your blood boil, remember this: Amazon has always been keen to right their wrongs over the slightest delivery delay, which has yielded free subscription extensions on many occasions. Compared to some of the newer alternatives we've seen, Prime is still a solid value even at it's new price.

Readers, what do you think of this new price hike? Is $99 acceptable or will you walk once your subscription is up for renewal?


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Senior Features Writer

With over a decade of experience covering technology, Louis Ramirez has written for CNET, Laptop, Gizmodo, and various other publications. Follow him on Twitter at @louisramirez.
Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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21 comments
Greg the Gruesome
I just checked out Amazon (today is March 20) and it shows me that buying Prime as a gift costs $99, not $79. In addition, I have Prime as a guest of someone who is a "full" Prime member. Thus, I get free 2-day shipping but not free access to movies and TV and the Kindle lending library. However, it also means I can't get the free 30-day trial of "full" Prime membership. Yet if I want to become a "full" Prime member myself, today, I have to pay $99, not $79. ಠ_ಠ
Greg the Gruesome
Huh. Amazon's homepage says today (March 19) is the last day whereas previously I was shown that the last day is March 20 (as I stated in my previous comment).
TimKridel
I let my Prime membership expire about a year ago. I just didn't see enough value in it. It's rare that I need an item within two days, and although the video selection was decent, I rarely had time to watch it. The add-on policy and other caveats make it even less valuable to me.
TiberiusX
Great tip on cancelling auto renew and sending myself a prime membership, just did it but will auto renew next year @ $99 as long as it is not raised again.
Joan351
I was forwarding this as an email and typing the text, and it disappeared before I could send it.
Greg the Gruesome
@dealnews-Lindsay

That is quite odd. It also says on the homepage that the free trial period is 30 days and, after I signed in and then out, "until March 20th."
dealnews-Lindsay
@Greg the Gruesome We are getting that date based on Amazon's own countdown. Currently on the home page it says you have six more days to lock in the current rate. If we're conservative about that number and count today as day one, that would make March 19 day six. So perhaps it's a 1-month trial, technically, as four weeks from March 19 is April 16.
Greg the Gruesome
If you sign up on March 19, Day 30 is April 17 and the first day of the year you pay for is April 18, so you would be charged $99. No?
VERMINATOR
Thanks Lindsay, I overlooked a trial period in my math / confusion / computing.
Have a great day & thanks for what you do for the DealNews community!
Verminator
dealnews-Lindsay
@VERMINATOR There's a mandatory 30-day free trial period when you register for Prime, after which you're charged; so in order to get charged before April 17, you have to register within 7 days.
VERMINATOR
I'm really confused.. DealNews says
"This new rate won't go into effect until April 17..."
But the DealNews headline reads
"You have 7 days to subscribe to Amazon Prime at the lower rate."
There are more than seven days between now & 17 April.
Vermin
AllSeasonRadial
@emmayche: be brave: click the "end membership" button. That takes you to a screen that will warn you that you will lose all the wonderful benefits of Prime. The secret is to click through *that* screen to get to the turn off auto-renew button. Then just follow the instructions in the article to order Prime the day after your subscription ends (I actually ordered it to be delivered the same day my subscription ends).
algreimann
DealPug

Anyway to gift a student account to yourself? I already have a student account.
WalrusScorpio
BTW, you can currently get Amazon Prime free for one year when you sign up for one of the two Blue Cash cards from American Express. It's a special offer they've got going right now.

There's the Blue Cash Everyday Card (BCE) and the Blue Cash Preferred Card (BCP). BCP has $75 annual fee; BCE doesn't. However, BCP has $100 initial spending bonus, 6% cash back at grocery stores, and 3% cash back at gas stations, while BCE has just a $50 initial spending bonus, 3% cash back at grocery stores, and 2% cash back at gas stations. There are probably some other differences as well. You can use that rewards calculator at http://www.creditcardtuneup.com/ to compare the Blue Cash cards for your particular expenses.
emmayche
I can't find where to turn off Prime auto-renew. There just seems to be "turn it off now" or "remind me 3 days before you charge me again." DealPug, could you be a bit more explicit about this step? Thanks for the info so far!
overground
@DealPug.
Thanks for that info. I just followed your steps.
At least in CA, you won't be saving quite $20 as they charge tax on the gift order. Still saves around $15 , so better than nothing.
DealPug
Already a subscriber? If your current Prime membership is scheduled to expire on or after April 17th, and therefore would auto-renew at the $99 price, you can effectively lock in the $79 price by taking the following steps:
(1) Look up your Prime expiration date. (Let's say yours is June 11th.)
(2) Purchase a Prime Gift Membership here: https://www.amazon.com/...ne/prime_gifting_landing
Set the delivery date as the date after your membership expires (in this case, June 12, 2014).
Enter your own e-mail address as the gift recipient. It is okay if this is the exact e-mail address already associated with your Amazon Prime account.
Place order (total will be $79).
(3) Turn off your Prime auto-renew. (By going through the cancel process)
(4) On the day after your membership expires, you will receive an e-mail from Amazon with the gift membership. Follow the instructions to apply it to your account.
This is a pretty straightforward way to save $20.
micahman333
For some reason, they are still giving me the student pricing of $49...and even at that price, I question its value. Most of the stuff I order from Amazon is above their minimum free shipping, and with Hulu + Redbox, there is little video offering I dont already have.
KenF
I would probably be money ahead by canceling Prime. I order more stuff just because I have it. Now with the $20 price hike I might consider dropping it. I don't "have" to have two shipping, and I can just hold off on orders until I get the minimum for free shipping.
idaho
I am currently a prime subscriber. I got my notice from Amazon today. I will continue to subscribe to Prime for the $99 rate. It is still a good deal for me. Now on the other hand, if they raise the rate again in the future, I will evaluate it at that time.
tguichar
Amazon "Prime". Puh-leaze.
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