Amazon Prime: Is Prime membership really worth it?

New Amazon Delivery Service Lets Couriers Into Your Home

We live in a time when almost anything you can imagine is a couple keyboard clicks and at a most, a few days of waiting away. Amazon and other online shopping services are game changers, making nearly any item deliverable within a matter of days, or even one hour.

» MORE: Amazon raises monthly Prime membership fees by 20 percent

If you have ever ordered from Amazon, you've definitely seen the option to subscribe to Amazon Prime. Before check-out, you'll get a note explaining the benefits of the service, usually offering free and quick shipping on your current purchase.

While you may just click passed the offer, thinking it's not worth the additional charge, you may want want to reconsider. Prime might not be for everyone, but if you find yourself ordering online several times a month, turning to streaming services for entertainment or getting annoyed at slow delivery times, the service could add convenience to your life and save you money.

How much does it cost?

Just this month, Amazon Prime's pricing changed, with monthly subscriptions increasing slightly. Subscribers who choose to pay monthly are now charged $12.99, formerly the cost was $10.99. Students pay $6.49, up from $5.49.

However, users will save fairly significantly if they choose to pay yearly. At just $99, a yearly subscription saves you $56.88, as opposed to paying monthly. For students, the yearly price is $49, a savings of $16.88 yearly.

Note that you can also try a 30-day free trial with all the service’s perks.

What shipping benefits do you get?

Prime members benefit from a range of free shipping options, depending on the item and location.

If you're living in a major U.S. city, including Atlanta, thousands of items are available for free delivery within as little as two hours. So, if you're impatient or one that likes to shop for things last minute, this could make your life a lot more convenient.

While not all items will be available for delivery within hours, most Amazon items will be available for free delivery within two days. And in general, you’ll never have to pay shipping fees. Considering shipping normally costs at least a few dollars, the savings can add up quickly.

» MORE: 7 brilliantly slick ways to get Amazon Prime for free

How about the streaming benefits? 

A September report revealed that Amazon Prime offered more than 32,000 titles for free streaming. Netflix offers less than 6,000. However, quality and options also matter.

If you’re a fan of Netflix originals, such as “Stranger Things” or “House of Cards,” Amazon Prime won’t stream those, of course. At the same time, with so many more options, you’re sure to find other great movies and shows to keep you entertained on weekday evenings after work.

Prime members can also subscribe to specific channels – such as HBO, Starz, and Showtime – for more viewing options. But, these also cost an additional fee, ranging from $4.99 to $14.99 per month.

Is Amazon Prime right for you?

Depending on where you live, how often you order online and how much time you spend streaming online TV shows and movies, Amazon Prime may be ideal for you.

For instance, if you shop online several times per month, stream a few times a week and live in a major city, you’re likely to experience significant convenience and savings from the service, especially if you pay the yearly subscription fee.

If you think the service may add convenience and ease to your life, you can always try the 30-day free trial to understand the benefits better. You'll be required to give your credit card information, but you won't be charged as long as you cancel by the end of the trial.

The AJC may receive a commission for purchases made through some links in this article.

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