The cost of an annual Amazon Prime membership for folks in the U.S. is about to jump by 20 percent.
It will increase from $99 per year to $119 per year, Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky announced during the company’s quarterly financial results conference call on Thursday afternoon.
The new price is effective May 11 for new members. It will apply to renewing members starting on June 16.
Why the price hike?
This news comes a little more than a year after Amazon increased the cost of a monthly Prime membership in the U.S. However, Olsavsky noted that Amazon has not increased the annual U.S. membership price since March 2014.
Olsavsky also said that while Prime is more valuable than ever to customers, its cost to Amazon is high, given the shipping and digital benefits that come with Prime.
“Prime provides a unique combination of benefits, and we continue to invest in making this Prime program even more valuable for our members.”
What’s a Prime member to do?
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos disclosed in his latest annual letter to shareholders that there are now more than 100 million paid Prime members.
If you are one of them, it seems you’ve got only two options: Cough up an extra $20 a year or don’t renew your membership.
As an Amazon Prime member myself, I would venture a guess that few people who have $99 to spend on a Prime membership every year will quit Prime over an extra $20 a year. Membership is just too valuable, given the ever-increasing perks.
I won’t be quitting Prime over this. For starters, my household gets more than $99 — or $119 — out of it each year. Also, my spouse is too hooked. He would probably pay a lot more than $119 before he would let me cancel.
I’m not trying to sell you on Prime, though — whether you should join or renew is between you and your budget. I’m just acknowledging that for many folks, Prime has become an indispensable convenience in an era of online shopping and 24/7 connections to digital devices.
If you are among the folks who can’t or won’t leave Prime over a 20 percent price hike, my advice is to make sure you’re getting as much out of your membership as possible. That means making sure you’re aware of all the benefits available to you as Prime member.
Start with “8 Big Freebies and Price Breaks You Get With Amazon Prime.” Then, check out Amazon’s “About Amazon Prime” webpage, which lists at least two dozen benefits.
I’m familiar with the benefits as a member and as someone who has had to research Prime for work. And I find that a lot of people are unaware of a lot of big benefits — such as free unlimited cloud storage space for photos.
So, what do you make of the Prime price hike? Sound off below or over on our Facebook page.