Amazon Prime costs $119 a year — here are 14 reasons that more than justify its price

amazon prime $119

  • Amazon Prime is $119 for an annual membership or $12.99 per month, though there are special discounts for students and EBT and Medicaid holders.
  • Even for $119, Amazon Prime is still ultimately a great deal if you plan to use its features, whether sparingly or frequently.
  • In 2018, JPMorgan estimated that an Amazon Prime membership is actually worth $785 annually.
  • Prime members also get access to Amazon Prime Day 2019 deals, which are running from July 15-16. If you’re considering starting a free 30-day trial of Prime, now is a particularly good time to do it. 

Asking the question “How much would you pay for Amazon Prime?” is kind of like asking how much would you pay to keep using Google. It’s so fundamentally entrenched in our daily lives (more than 100 million people have access to Amazon Prime benefits in the US alone) that it has reached a ubiquitous status.  We are used to near-instant gratification, and, for many of us, it’s hard to put a price on that convenience.

But that price did, unfortunately, rise in 2018. Amazon Prime memberships went up from $99 to $119 — an increase of 20%.

If you pay month to month, an Amazon Prime membership is $12.99 per month, and a Prime Student membership is $6.49 per month. For EBT and Medicaid holders, additional discounts bring the cost down to $5.99 per month. Overall, paying month to month for the average user will cost you about $37 more than the annual option over a year. 

For the $119 annual fee, Prime members get a ton of benefits (which definitely range in usefulness): free two-day shipping, free same-day shipping, and free two-hour delivery on eligible items (of which there are many), exclusive rewards and discounts, Prime Video, Prime Music, online photo storage, music and books, and about 20 other perks.

As a Prime member, you also get access to Prime Day discounts on everything from new TVs to Instant Pots to Amazon Echo devices. Prime Day 2019 is being hosted July 15-16 in a 48-hour event, so if you’re considering it, now is one of the most impactful times to take advantage of the 30-day free trial offered.

But, all in all, is Amazon Prime worth it, even at $119?

In short, yes. 

Granted, you may not use every feature included in your annual membership. If you’re a student and/or have access to a university email and save 50% on the yearly fee with Prime Student or you share your Amazon Prime and most benefits with family members via Amazon Household, your dollar stretches even further. But even if none of that applies to you, it’s still generally a great investment. Especially since JPMorgan has estimated that your Amazon Prime membership is actually worth $785 annually.

Ultimately, most of us will pay a bit more for the perks we’ve come to rely upon without much grumbling. But, if you want a breakdown of the ways you’re saving and potentially reassess the cost, check out our breakdown below. If you’re unsure and haven’t made the leap yet, check out a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime before deciding it’s worth committing to. 

Here’s a breakdown of why Amazon Prime is still a great value, even at $119 per year:

DON’T MISS: Amazon Prime Day will be a full 48 hours this year, running from July 15 to 16 — here’s a quick rundown of what deals to expect and how to prepare

SEE ALSO: Amazon Prime Day 2019: Every deals article we’ve written so far

Shipping costs.

The annual price of $119 includes free two-day shipping on over 100 million items. Without Prime, you’ll get free regular shipping if your order is over $25, but no two-day perk. This could promote over-shopping (adding more to cart so as to meet the threshold).

Two-day shipping (give or take a couple of bucks) typically costs about $10. If, as a Prime member, you place 11 orders of under $25 over the course of a year on Amazon (say, you need paper towels but not much else), the membership pays for itself. 

And while expedited shipping is an abnormal cost for most of us, it’s a pricey one. However, Prime’s free same-day shipping on over a million items in 8,000 cities when you spend over $35 can save you money, time, and convenience. 

On average, Amazon Prime members spend $1,400 US dollars on the platform every year. Non-Prime users spend a little less than half that ($600), but they may be picking up the tab elsewhere, like in the cost of gas to shop in-store, the higher price of items from big-box retailers, and shipping from other stores. 

Video streaming services.

One of the suspected reasons for the increase in annual fee last year was due to the amount of money Amazon planned to pour into its digital content, which is one of the best perks of the Prime membership. It’s currently on pace to spend $7 billion on video and music content in 2019.

Prime Video lets you stream from a large library of movies and TV shows for free, including Prime Originals content, and rent the latest releases for low prices. Prime members can also subscribe to over 100 channels (and only pay for the channels they want, which is great for saving money without losing convenience), including HBO, Showtime, and CBS All Access. 

Plus, it’s probably only going to get better as streaming competition intensifies.

Unlimited photo storage and sharing, as well as 5 GB for videos and files.

Prime Photos lets you save and share unlimited full-resolution photos across desktop, mobile, and tablet, as well as share unlimited photo storage with up to five people. If you’re paying a few bucks every month to increase your iCloud storage just to make room for the photos on your phone, you can cut out that cost and use your membership to a fuller extent.

You’ll also get five GB for videos and files. And Prime Photos comes pre-installed on Amazon devices, so you can also view your photos from your Fire TV and Echo Show. 

Sharing Prime benefits across an entire household at no additional cost.

If you’re using it as a family, Amazon Household is one of the easiest ways to see the return on your Prime membership investment. Two adults and up to four teens and four child profiles may link in a ‘Household,’ allowing everyone in the family to enjoy Prime benefits (free shipping, Prime Video, Prime Photos and share content like ebooks, audiobooks, games, and apps) without paying extra. This alone makes Prime a good deal if you or your family members use any of the features even sparingly. 

Another benefit of linking accounts is that adults can approve orders before they’re placed (for teens) and set parental controls on digital content (for kids). 

Prime exclusive rewards and discounts, like Prime Day deals, Lightning Deals, and a rewards credit card that gives you 5% cash back.

Your Prime membership also makes you eligible for lots of exclusive deals, which are the metaphorical cherry on top of the rest mentioned.

The most impactful is access to Prime Day deals, but you also get exclusive access to the following:

Early access to Lightning Deals: Prime members get an extra 30 minutes to shop lightning deals (which typically last only for a few hours) before they’re officially open. Just look for the “Prime Early Access” label as you shop the page. 

Discounts or rewards for choosing no-rush shipping at checkout: If you can wait a few extra days for your order to arrive, you can either earn rewards on future purchases or receive discounts immediately. Rewards are automatically added to your account once your free No-Rush order ships and they are automatically applied to qualifying orders as well. 

A rewards credit card with no annual fee or foreign transaction fees: Get 5% back at and Whole Foods Market, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% back on all other purchases. You’ll also get a $70 gift card instantly upon approval, and you can redeem your points on Amazon as well as for cash back, gift cards, and travel.

Added discounts and exclusive options in Prime Pantry: You can do a free 30-day trial, but Prime members can tack on $4.99 per month for access to thousands of household essentials, many of which are not available elsewhere on Amazon. Pantry-exclusive coupons save you even more money on these items. Find a review here.

The option to try clothes on at home before actually buying them.

Prime Wardrobe lets you try on and purchase new styles at home. Choose three or more items across their many lines and try them on at home before deciding what to keep and pay for. You have seven days to choose, and you can just check out online once you’ve decided. From there, return your unwanted items for free using the resealable box and prepaid shipping label. 

If you don’t frequently shop online this might not save you much money through your membership. But if you’ve ever gotten burned by a short return window and a busy schedule, the try-before-you-buy is a great feature to save money in the long term. 

Access to books, magazines, and comics.

Prime members get access to Prime Reading which means they can choose up to 10 titles at a time from more than 1,000 options as a perk of membership, and Amazon First Reads gives you access to one free Kindle book every month. For Prime Day, Prime members can get two kindle books for free in July.

And if you have kids and find yourself spending a lot on kids’ books, movies, TV shows, or educational apps and games put-together, Prime members can pay $2.99 per month for a single child or $6.99 for a family of four kids for FreeTime Unlimited, which gives members unlimited access to thousands of options. Start a trial here before committing. 

Parents can set controls like time limits and content filters, and personalize the experiences of each child profile. It’s available on Fire Tablets (books, videos, apps), Echo (audio), Kindle eReaders (books), and Android phones and tablets (books, videos). 

Free Prime Music streaming and discounted Amazon Music Unlimited.

Prime Music is a benefit of your Prime Membership that features a growing selection of 2 million songs which you can listen to ad-free and on-demand. If you want to expand your options, Amazon Music Unlimited ($7.99 per month) has a larger library of tens of millions of songs and lets you download them for offline listening on any device. Depending on your own preference, Amazon Music Unlimited might be a better deal than popular choices like Spotify Premium ($9.99 per month). You can find a trial here to determine which one is better ultimately for you.

Right now, you can also get four months of Amazon Music Unlimited for $0.99 as an early Prime Day deal. 

Save 50% on Prime with access to a email or as a qualifying customer with an EBT or Medicaid card.

If you have access to a .edu email and haven’t yet become a member with it, you can get a six-month trial of Prime Student at no-cost and then pay 50% less than other Prime users ($6.49 per month) after the trial ends for four years or until your indicated graduation date — whichever comes first.

Prime is also discounted ($5.99 per month) for qualifying customers with an EBT or Medicaid card. 

Free standard shipping and returns on Shopbop, East Dane, and Woot!.

Your shipping benefits are key, and they extend beyond You can get free two-day shipping by signing into your Amazon account while shopping at Shopbop, East Dane, and the flash deals at Woot! as well.

Exclusive discounts on unlocked phones.

If you want an unlocked phone (and the greater freedom afforded by not being tied to one phone carrier), Amazon reserves low prices for LG, Moto, and Nokia phones for Prime members. 

Twitch Prime live video streaming and viewing.

Twitch is primarily used to watch video gameplay. Prime members get free two-hour delivery, a free Twitch channel subscription (starting at $4.99 per month otherwise), pre-order price guarantee, a Prime-exclusive chat badge, and release date delivery. 

Free Audible Channels audiobooks and podcasts.

Similar to the free books in Prime Reading, this Audible benefit unlocks free full-length audiobooks exclusive to Prime members as well as playlists handcrafted for every interest and Audible-produced news, humor, and crime podcasts.

Right now, Prime members can take advantage of an early Prime Day deal that’s giving away three months of membership for just $4.95 per month (originally $14.99). You can also save $30 when you sign up for an annual Audible membership (now $119) and get an Echo Dot for $0.99.


Perhaps the biggest (and most valued) thing you will save with Prime is time. With free two-hour delivery on household items with Prime Now, free same-day shipping on over a million items, and consistent two-day shipping on everything else, you’ll save time commuting, browsing, price-matching, and waiting in lines. 

And if you find yourself waiting in lines for new video game releases, you’ll save even more with free release-date delivery on new video games, books, music, and movies if you can wait until 7 p.m. day-of for delivery.

In select cities, you can even enable Amazon Key in-home delivery, so you don’t even need to be home to bring your packages indoors. It’s a secure in-home delivery on millions of eligible items. It’s possible with the Amazon Key Home Kit ($219.99), which can also be used normally to schedule home access for guests, friends, and family. Eligible shoppers can also get packages delivered to their garage or car when it’s parked at a publicly accessible area.