Amazon Prime increase starts Friday. Heres how to lock in a membership at current price. – USA TODAY

Time is running out to lock in a lower price on an Amazon Prime membership before prices increase.

Starting Friday, Feb. 18, an annual membership for new members will go up $20 from $119 to $139 and the monthly fee will go up $2 from $12.99 to $14.99, the company said in early February.

Amazon officials said the price of Prime is increasing with “the continued expansion of Prime member benefits as well as the rise in wages and transportation costs.”

For current Prime members, the new price will apply after March 25 on the date of their next renewal.

But what if your renewal is after that date? Is it possible to avoid the increase?

BEAUTY MAKEOVER:Is your Kohl’s getting a Sephora in 2022? The retailers are adding 400 beauty shops this year.

DAILY MONEY NEWSLETTER:  Money tips and advice delivered right to your inbox. Sign up here

Yes, it is possible, but a word of warning that this could take time and make you question if it’s worth the effort to save $20. It also isn’t as simple as adding to an existing membership.

Amazon didn’t respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment, but here is what reporters learned from chatting with customer service reps and reading help topics on the website.

Buy an Amazon Prime gift membership

Time to treat yourself or a friend. Go to Amazon’s website and visit the page for giving Prime as a gift before Friday, Feb. 18. Choose between a one-year membership for $119 or a 3-month plan for $39. 

Pick your annual membership, and add it to the cart. After you proceed to checkout, type in the recipient’s email address (which could be yours if you’re getting it for yourself), and the delivery date. Save the gift option, then follow the instructions on screen. Amazon also says if you put in your email address, you have the option of forwarding the gift subscription.

Once you redeem the membership, you’ve got another year of Prime at the current price. Keep in mind, this only buys you an extra year to avoid the price increase, but you could buy multiple gift memberships if you don’t mind tying up money.

Canceling current Prime membership to get a possible credit

There’s an option to cancel your membership without involving customer service. You’ll need to go to “Manage Membership” within the Prime account pulldown and select “Update, Cancel, and more” and follow on-screen instructions.

USA TODAY wanted to find out more, so a reporter who had until April 24 before renewal did a chat within the Amazon site with customer service after already purchasing the gift membership. She was offered a $28 credit for the remaining two months of the membership in the chat so that she could activate the gift membership early.

While this sounded easy, the account wasn’t properly canceled and a second customer service representative said the information given was incorrect. After a transfer to a supervisor, the matter was handled – the account was canceled and a $28 refund was issued “as an exception,” the supervisor said.

Shopping tip: Remember to save chats so you have documentation. The customer service representatives and supervisors can also review chats, but it’s a good practice to always save chats with stores and businesses.

Amazon is raising the price of its Prime membership.

Activate Prime gift membership

This is the easy part. Usually, you can just click a button in the Amazon email with the gift subscription that says “Start enjoying Prime.” (If the button doesn’t work, there is a link in the email to copy and paste in the browser or click on.)

You’ll then sign in with an existing Amazon account or create a new account. Your Prime membership will start right away.

Exchange a Prime gift membership for an Amazon gift card

If you bought an extra membership or receive one, it’s possible to get a gift card in its place. This also can ensure you aren’t out money if you have difficulty redeeming a gift membership. 

According to Amazon’s help topics, if you receive a Prime Gift Membership but are already an Amazon Prime or Prime Student member, or don’t want to activate the Prime Gift Membership, you can exchange the Prime Gift Membership for an Amazon gift card.

To exchange your Prime gift membership:

  • Select Already a Prime member? in your gift notification email.
  • Then select “Get your Gift Card.”

Amazon Prime benefits: Prime Video, free delivery, Whole Foods discount

Amazon said U.S. Prime members received more than 6 billion free deliveries in 2021 while over 200 million members worldwide streamed shows and movies.

Here are some of the top benefits:

  • Free two-day delivery on millions of items
  • Free one-day delivery on more than 10 million items
  • Free same-day delivery in select areas for orders $35 or more
  • Streaming and digital benefits with Prime Video, Amazon Music
  • Prime member deals at Whole Foods Market

When does Amazon Prime price increase?

For new members, the price increases starting Feb. 18 from $119 to $139 and the monthly fee will go up $2 from $12.99 to $14.99. For current Prime members, the new price will apply after March 25 on the date of their next renewal.

Brett Molina contributed to this report. Follow USA TODAY reporters Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTykoFor shopping news, tips and deals, join us on our Shopping Ninjas Facebook group

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *