Photo (cc) by protohiro
Amazon has increased the minimum purchase necessary to qualify for free shipping from $35 to $49.
That means you’ll generally have to spend at least $49 at a time for your purchases to qualify for free shipping unless you have an Amazon Prime membership.
This is the online retail giant’s second such increase in recent years. In October 2013, the minimum increased to $35 after being $25 for more than a decade.
Books represent the lone exception to the new policy. As noted on the “About Free Shipping by Amazon” page, orders that include at least $25 of eligible books still qualify for free shipping.
NBC News reports that the latest increase is an effort to push Amazon Prime.
The benefits of an Amazon Prime membership include:
- Free two-day shipping with no minimum
- Free unlimited photo storage
- Access to free e-books
- Free streaming of TV shows, movies and music
Amazon Prime costs $99 per year, but a free 30-day trial is available. The student version, Amazon Student, costs 50 percent less, and a free six-month trial is available.
Amazon’s latest increase in the minimum purchase amount required for free shipping now means that several of its competitors have lower minimums. For example:
- Jet.com — which launched in July in an effort to compete with Amazon and warehouse clubs and eliminated its membership fee in October — offers free shipping with purchases of at least $35.
- Best Buy offers free shipping with purchases of at least $35 as well as free shipping to stores.
- Target offers free shipping with purchases of at least $25 and purchases made with a REDcard, which is Target’s debit and credit card.
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