Facing the twin threats of inflation and the ongoing pandemic, Amazon is hiking fees for Prime members, and that means you’ll soon be paying more for Prime Video streaming, among other Prime benefits.
Starting later this month, the annual cost of Amazon Prime will rise from $119 to $139, a steep $20-a-year increase, while monthly members will see their fees go up from $12.99 to $14.99.
When do the fee hikes kick in? If you’re new to Prime, you’ll start paying the new rates starting February 18. Meanwhile, existing Prime members won’t start paying more until after March 25.
That means now would be a good time to lock in the old Prime rates by signing up for an annual membership, before the new rates go into effect. If you’re signing up with Prime for the first time, you have about two weeks to snag a one-year membership for $119. Already a Prime monthly member? Consider ponying up for a full year right before March 25.
It’s been four years since the last Amazon Prime rate hike, which saw annual membership fees go up from $99 to $119, and there was also a four-year gap between 2018’s price increase and the previous one.
Amazon’s Prime price hike comes just weeks after Netflix jacked up its prices, with Netflix’s UHD-enabled Premium plan climbing to an eye-popping $19.99 a month, while the streamer’s cheapest plan hit double digits (well, $9.99 to be exact, but that’s close enough) for the first time. Last fall, Hulu upped the prices for both its regular streaming plans (in September) and its live TV offering (two months later).
Besides unlimited Prime Video streaming, Prime members also get free shipping for Prime items on Amazon, although as Recode notes, Prime delivery times have been slipping due to pandemic-fueled labor shortages.
You also get unlimited, ad-free access to more than a thousand books and magazines, as well as the run of two million streaming music tracks.
As with Netflix, many view Amazon Prime as a utility, with the free Prime shipping being a key perk for loyal Amazon shoppers. But following the latest price hike and Amazon’s increasingly erratic shipping times, taking a Prime break isn’t as inconceivable as it used to be, particularly if your favorite Prime Video shows are on hiatus.
That said, Amazon’s annual Prime membership plan does give users the change to lock in the previous rate for a year. Netflix, on the other hand, doesn’t offer an annual membership option.