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7 Ways to Avoid Paying $139 for Amazon Prime

Amazon is increasing the price of Prime by $20 to $139 per year on Feb. 18. Here’s how to lock in a lower rate.

By Chloe Albanesius

Amazon’s Prime subscription service has seen a few price hikes over the years, from $79 to $99 per year in 2014, again to $119 in 2018, and now to $139, effective Feb. 18.

Prime is free to join for 30 days, so you can try it without making a year-long commitment. Sign up at the holidays to get free shipping on gift purchases and then cancel, for example. (You can only do that once.) There’s also the option to sign up for a monthly Prime subscription (soon to be $14.99), though if you plan to use it for any length of time, an annual fee is a better deal.

The main Prime perk is free, two-day shipping, but Prime members also get Prime Video streaming, Prime Music, Prime Reading, and Amazon Photos. If you’re a regular Amazon user, Prime is a pretty good deal. But perhaps you’re on a budget and are looking for ways to pay less than $139 for Amazon Prime free shipping and other perks. Here are some options.

1. Sign Up Before Feb. 18, 2022

For new Prime members, the price changes announced today will go into effect on February 18, 2022. So you have a few more days to lock in that $119-per-year price. Head over to the Prime website and select the Annual plan. It’ll then renew at $139 next year unless you cancel.

2. Gift Yourself Prime

Amazon lets you gift someone else a Prime subscription, but that someone else could be you, even if you already have Prime. Purchase a Prime gift subscription for $119 before Feb. 18, and send it to yourself. Then cancel your Prime account before it auto-renews (get a reminder three days before under Account > Prime > Remind me before renewing), and re-subscribe using the Prime gift you sent yourself.

3. Join Amazon Student

(Image: Getty)

Students still get a discounted Amazon Prime rate when they join Prime Student.

Those who sign up get a six-month trial that includes free, two-day shipping on Prime items, free same-day delivery in certain areas, and two-hour grocery delivery, as well as access to Prime Video, Prime Music, Amazon Photos, Prime Reading, and Amazon Photos. Once the six-month trial is up, Amazon charges $59 per year or $6.49 per month for four years or until graduation, whatever comes first. To qualify, you’ll need a .edu email address.

4. Get an EBT or Medicaid Discount

If you have a valid Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) or Medicaid card, you can sign up for Amazon Prime for $5.99 per month for up to four years. After Amazon verifies your accounts, you’re eligible for free, two-day shipping, Prime Video, Amazon Photos, and more. EBT/Medicaid status will have to be verified every 12 months; Amazon will email you to re-verify.

5. Spend $25 or More

If free shipping is your game, Amazon offers free shipping on orders of $25 or more for those without Prime, with delivery in 5–8 business days. With millions of items, it’s not hard to rack up enough items to hit the $25 mark. Some items are not eligible; look for “FREE Shipping” messaging on the product detail page to see if your item qualifies. You can get free, one-day shipping when buying gift cards, but they don’t apply to the $25 total, Amazon says. If you’re just shy of $25, select a cheap, add-on item.

6. Get a Subscribe & Save Membership

Similarly, shoppers who tend to buy the same things should look into a Subscribe & Save Membership. Although it does not cover everything on the site, members can save up to 15% on orders and receive free shipping on every Subscribe & Save order. Members must select eligible items and choose a delivery schedule to subscribe. While it’s not as expansive as an Amazon Prime membership, it is convenient and worth a look.

7. Swap Amazon Prime for Walmart+

Amazon isn’t the only shipping giant with a subscription service; Walmart+ debuted in 2020 and at $98 per year, it’s now more than $40 cheaper than Amazon Prime. There are similar perks, like free shipping and early access to special deals, plus prescription and gas discounts. No free video-streaming service, though. Express delivery options are not as robust as those found on Amazon, so double-check that Walmart has a presence in your area if something like grocery delivery is a priority.

Originally published at https://www.pcmag.com.

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