Many of us signed up for Amazon Prime back when its offering was unique and less expensive. But now other platforms offer many of the same benefits without membership fees. It is time to reassess—are you using enough of Prime’s benefits to justify $14.99 per month?
Ask yourself why you joined Prime…
Shipping: Amazon was once the only major online retailer to offer fast, free shipping. Now, hundreds of retailers do. And now, Amazon might not be beating other retailers. Prime does still provide free shipping with no minimum order —but if you don’t mind waiting for small items to accumulate in your cart, you can get free shipping elsewhere as well.
Low prices: You can no longer count on Amazon to have the lowest price, except on its own Amazon-branded merchandise.
Other perks: You get access to Amazon’s streaming service (with more than 26,000 movies and 2,700 shows)…Amazon Music (with two million songs)…and Amazon Fresh (the company’s grocery delivery service). But those services are valuable only if you use them.
If you do your online shopping primarily at Amazon and take advantage of one or more Prime perks, then it probably makes sense for you.
Life after Prime
Alternatives for each Prime service…
Streaming video: You can shop around for another streaming service. Also: Many people don’t realize that some cell-phone plans come with free subscriptions to streaming services. Even fewer think to take out a library card—most public libraries have digital platforms where you can stream tons of content (including video games) for free.
Music: Consider Spotify, YouTube Music, SoundCloud or Deezer.
Groceries: Alternatives to Amazon Fresh are Instacart, Peapod and Walmart.
If the total of any of the alternatives you choose exceeds Prime’s $14.99 monthly (or $139 annual) fee, it’s probably wisest to stick with Amazon.