Shopping on Amazon can be convenient, especially if you are still spending more time at home amid the coronavirus pandemic. You can get anything from frozen pizza to light bulbs delivered to your door at the click of a button.
An Amazon Prime membership makes it even more convenient. Perks include not just faster shipping but also access to free e-books, music, file storage and more, as we detail in “These Are the 8 Best Benefits of Amazon Prime.”
While the convenience is great, the cost of membership may give you pause. On Feb. 3, the online retailer announced it’s raising the price of an annual Prime membership from $119 to $139. For monthly subscribers, the cost is going from $12.99 to $14.99, CNBC reports.
The higher prices will take effect on Feb. 18 for new members, with existing members affected sometime after March 25, depending on when their membership comes up for renewal.
If you want to pay less but still enjoy the convenience of Amazon Prime, there are a few ways to get a free membership.
1. Get a free trial
If you want to try Amazon Prime to see if it’s worth paying for a membership, sign up for a free 30-day trial.
This is an option for people who are new to Prime as well as people who were Prime members in the past but have not been a member in the past 12 months. Just remember to cancel the trial before the 30-day trial is up if you decide you don’t want to pay for a membership.
Keep in mind that you can’t use a checking account or prepaid credit card to sign up for your trial: Your Amazon account must have a credit card.
However, you can use different email addresses to get multiple free trials, at least according to a 2018 Vice report. Again, remember to cancel each trial before it ends to avoid being charged for a membership.
If you’re a college student, you can sign up for a free Prime Student trial, which lasts six months. A Prime Student membership also costs less than a regular Prime membership if you decide to continue after your trial ends.
2. Use free Amazon gift cards
If you keep your Amazon membership after the free trial ends, consider paying for it with Amazon gift cards. There are various ways to get them for free. Check out the options in “8 Ways to Get Amazon Gift Cards for Free.”
3. Use credit card rewards
If you have a cash-back credit card, you could use your accumulated cash back to pay for a Prime membership — which kind of feels like you are getting Prime for free.
If you sign up for the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card, you will earn 5% cash back on purchases at Amazon and Whole Foods Market, and 1% or 2% cash back everywhere else. If you spend $2,800 in a year at the 5% rate, you will earn $140 cash back — enough to cover the cost of a one-year membership.
If you’re in the market for a new card, stop by Money Talks News’ Solutions Center and use the free credit card comparison tool.
4. Switch cellphone plans
Looking to switch cellphone carriers? Some wireless providers offer Amazon Prime as a perk for signing up for select plans.
For example, Metro by T-Mobile gives customers Amazon Prime for free with select plans.
For more help finding the right plan for you, check out Money Talks News’ free cellphone and wireless plan comparison tool.
5. Share an account using Amazon Household
If someone in your household has an Amazon Prime membership, you can ask them to share it with you via a feature called Amazon Household.
Each of you keeps your own Amazon account, but the two accounts are linked, giving you access to select Prime benefits. They include:
- Prime Shipping
- Prime Video
- Prime Reading
- Amazon Photos
- First Reads
- Audible Channels
- Other discounts and exclusives
Keep in mind that using the Amazon Household feature means sharing payment methods.