Is Amazon Prime Really Worth $139 per Year?

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  • The cost of Amazon Prime is rising from $119 a year to $139.
  • The program offers benefits that well exceed the perk of free two-day shipping.

For many people, it's a resounding yes.

Like almost everything these days (thanks, inflation), Amazon Prime is getting more expensive. The annual cost of Prime is increasing from $119 to $139 at a time when many people are already dipping into their savings accounts just to make ends meet.

If you're not happy with that price increase, you're no doubt in good company. In fact, my husband's initial reaction to hearing that news was to insist we cancel our Prime membership to avoid that fee hike.

My response to his suggestion, however, went something along the lines of: "Absolutely not." While I don't relish the idea of paying more for the same service, I need Amazon Prime in my life. Here's why I'm convinced the program is well worth the $139 a year it will soon cost.

Free two-day shipping

You know the supply chain issues we keep hearing about? They've made the process of procuring goods more challenging. And so between that and the snow-covered roads I'd rather not drive on these days, it's far more convenient to browse through Amazon, identify the items I need, and wait for them to arrive at my door rather than venture out to a store only to potentially not find what I'm looking for.

But it's not just that Prime members get two-day shipping at no cost. Some items on the site are eligible for free same-day or overnight delivery -- even out in suburbia where I live. It doesn't get much more convenient than that.

Prime Instant Video

For those of you like me who aren't big fans of winter, there's nothing more comforting than curling up on a couch with a warm blanket, some popcorn, and a great movie or TV show. And as an Amazon Prime member, I get access to hundreds of choices I can stream at my convenience.

In fact, when you consider the cost of paying for a separate streaming service, you're looking at a good $10 to $15 a month easily. The fact that Instant Video comes free with Prime helps justify its total cost.

Amazon First Reads

I'm a big reader, and one of the things I love about Amazon Prime is its First Reads program, which lets you choose a free book every month you can download on the spot. Some months, you even get a bonus book.

Because these are new titles, they're often released via First Reads before becoming available at the library. When you think about the cost of buying a book (it can easily be $10 to $20), that alone makes Prime worth it even at a higher price point. To be clear, those First Reads books are yours to keep.

Amazon Wardrobe's Try Before You Buy program

As someone who can't stand shopping for clothing in stores, I've long upheld the practice of ordering apparel online. But then you inevitably run into the issue of things not fitting the right way and having to deal with returns and refunds.

Another great Amazon Prime perk is Amazon's Wardrobe's Try Before You Buy program. All you do is check out the items you want, wait for them to arrive at your door, and then decide within a week if you'll be keeping them or not. If you want them, you check out through your Prime account and their cost goes on your credit card. If you don't want them, you can return them for free with no questions asked.

Now, think about the cost of driving to and from stores to find clothing. You could easily spend $20 a month on gas running all over town. This method is far more convenient and will save you from making those trips.

Amazon Music Prime

Amazon Prime members get to enjoy free music as part of their annual subscription. While Amazon's library may not include all of your go-to artists, if you're willing to experiment with new ones, it's a nice bonus.

True, you won't get the same selection as you will with Amazon Music Unlimited, which is a paid service that gives you access to millions upon millions of songs. But if you're not that picky about what you listen to, it's a nice extra perk.

Nobody likes it when bills go up. But while Amazon Prime's price hike certainly isn't something to celebrate, don't be too quick to cancel or forgo a membership because of that increase. Chances are, you'll find that Prime more than pays for itself even at a higher cost.

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