Last year I got tired of paying for Amazon Prime. With Prime Day 2022 fast approaching, it might be a good time to decide if subscribing is worth it for you too.
In the end, I dropped Prime and then re-subscribed. The why story is kinda crazy, or so I feel. Read on to learn more and better understand if it makes sense for you to go premium free.
Saving the subscription fee — $139 per year if you pay annually and $180 per year if you use the $15 per month plan — probably isn’t life-changing. But it can be a satisfying way to fight inflation.
Why I left Prime
Before I explain why I ended up re-subscribing to Amazon Prime, I’ll explain the top five reasons why I stopped my subscription in the first place.
Overall, for me, it turned out that Prime didn’t offer exceptional value.
For you, however, the value of Prime will depend on which features you love and use the most and how you replace them. To help you weigh the value of Prime, check out:
1. Prime Video didn’t offer me much
One of the reasons I subscribed to Prime was for Prime Video, Amazon’s streaming video service. It’s free for Prime members but $8.99 per month for non-members.
Still, using Prime Video, I found there wasn’t much I wanted to watch. My Netflix subscription pretty much has me covered.
2. The public library covered my reading needs
As a Prime member, I had tried and quickly dismissed Amazon’s Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (which has since become kaput), Prime Reading, and First Reads. Two reasons:
- The public library. I download all the free eBooks and audiobooks I want from my online public library system. If they’re not available, I put my name on a waitlist and download something else to read while I wait. I consult printed books in the physical library. If the library doesn’t have what I want, they borrow it from me through interlibrary loan.
- Bad experience. A few times I was led, click by click, to buy a book that I mistakenly assumed was free. After that, I got nervous about Amazon’s free reading options. If you don’t read the fine print, you might be unpleasantly surprised. Fortunately, Amazon’s excellent customer service canceled or refunded accidental purchases.
3. I didn’t like Prime Music
I tried Prime Music, another free Amazon Prime perk, but didn’t like it and another free music service I was using at the time, Apple Music. (It’s usually not free, but a free subscription came with an Apple TV that I received as a gift.)
To sample Prime Music before paying Prime, you can sign up for a 30-day Amazon Prime free trial. Remember: Cancel the subscription before the trial ends to avoid being charged for Prime if you decide it’s not for you.
4. Credit card rewards were a wash
One of my favorite Prime perks is the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card with no annual fee. I loved the 5% cash back on my Amazon purchases and was pleasantly used to using rewards for “free” purchases from time to time. I paid the balance monthly so the interest charges didn’t offset the value of the rewards.
When I canceled Prime, Amazon downgraded my credit card to a card that instead offers 3% cash back on Amazon purchases.
Recently, to see if the cash rewards were worth the cost of a Prime membership, I tracked down my Amazon expenses for the year. I found 5% of that total spend and compared it to the Amazon Prime charges. The result: I spent about the same on the subscription as I did on the rewards I received on Amazon purchases. In that regard, it was a wash.
Here’s a shortcut: given the current annual Prime fee of $139, you would now need to spend $2,780 a year at Amazon (and/or its subsidiary Whole Foods Market) to earn enough money on those purchases to cover the Prime fee. annual.
If card rewards are a lure for you, you can find and compare offers on cash back credit cards at Money Talks News’ Solution Center. Read the rules with each card and look for cards with no annual fee.
5. You can get free shipping without Prime
Prime members get free and fast shipping on most purchases. When I considered ditching Prime, I wondered if I would miss Prime’s fast, free shipping.
“What is the urgency? I decided, finally. As we explain in “9 Things Anyone Can Get Free on Amazon”, non-members can also get free shipping on many products. Amazon lays out the rules here. You’ll just have to wait longer for your stuff — five to eight days, according to Amazon. Additionally, a minimum purchase of $25 is required.
The experience ends
For a few months after leaving Prime, I congratulated myself and took advantage of free shipping without Prime.
Then came the time when I forgot to plan ahead and needed to receive a purchase quickly. I joined Prime for a month, planning to cancel again before the next month’s bill.
But I forgot and was charged for next month’s Prime membership payment. Since I paid for it, I started using free two-day shipping again with no minimum. Pretty soon I was behaving like I had an annual subscription but paying the higher monthly rate.
It was time to end the experiment. I had to admit that I was addicted. Sadder, wiser, and against my better judgment, I’m an annual Prime subscriber again.
Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click on links in our stories.