If you’re a regular Amazon shopper you might be thinking about signing up to Amazon Prime.
The membership scheme boasts a range of benefits for an annual or monthly fee, the latest of which is a service called Prime Live Events, offering subscribers exclusive access to unique intimate gigs at iconic venues.
So, we’ve taken a look at what you get for your money and whether there are any cheaper alternatives, to work out whether an Amazon Prime subscription is worth it.
What does Amazon Prime include?
When Amazon first launched Prime in the UK back in 2007, it just offered free one-day delivery.
Today it offers a much wider range of benefits, including:
- Unlimited one-day (and for some areas same-day) delivery on millions of eligible items in the UK at no extra cost;
- Access to Prime Live Events offering tickets to exclusive gigs at iconic venues;
- Access to Prime Video, allowing unlimited video streaming of 15,000 TV shows and movies;
- Unlimited photo storage on Amazon Cloud Drive with Prime Photos;
- Access to Twitch Prime – a video platform and community for gamers;
- Video game discounts – Prime members can get a £2 discount on pre-orders and new releases sold by Amazon;
- Exclusive access to Prime Music to stream or download tracks and albums and a discount off Amazon Music Unlimited.
- Access to Amazon Pantry where you can purchase everyday essentials
- Access to Amazon Fresh which offers free deliveries on groceries over £40 (limited to selected postcodes)
- Use of Amazon Dash to order a range of household items with the push of a button
- Access to Amazon Restaurants which offers free delivery of restaurant takeaways on orders over £15 (limited to selected postcodes)
- Access to the Kindle Lending Library where you can borrow one of over 600,000 titles per month
- Download a free new book title every month from Kindle First
- Early access to Lightning Deals with Prime Early Access
- 20% off nappy subscriptions
- Exclusive special day of shopping discounts each year with ‘Prime Day’
- Ability to share Prime delivery benefits, Prime Video (streaming only), Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, early access to Lightening Deals and 20% off nappies and book benefits with another adult in your household.
How much does Amazon Prime cost?
Amazon Prime costs £79 a year upfront or £7.99 a month. If you are a student you can get it for £39 a year.
Occasionally Amazon offers discounted membership. In the past, we’ve seen the retailer offer as much as £20 off in the run up to big shopping days like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Prime Day.
So, if the normal fee is a little too steep, it could be worth waiting to see if you can bag a cheaper membership.
Also keep an eye out for promotional offers on things like broadband deals as these sometimes come with an Amazon voucher or a voucher which can be used at Amazon which can help you cover the cost of membership.
Is Amazon Prime worth paying for?
Whether Amazon Prime is worth the price tag depends on how many of the benefits you will use and how often. We’ve taken a look at the value of some of the key benefits below, starting with the newest addition to the Amazon Prime suite of services: Live Events.
Amazon Prime Prime Live Events
Amazon’s latest attempt to get people to sign up to Prime sees them offering customers exclusive access to ‘intimate shows’ at ‘iconic venues’ and if you can’t make it to the gig you can watch the show on Prime Video.
Blondie is kicking off their Pollinator tour with an exclusive show for Amazon Prime members on 23 May at the Round Chapel in Hackney.
However, tickets will set you back a whopping £150. But you could save money by getting £40 tickets for the second date of the tour at the Eden Project on 23 June.
The latest Prime benefit really depends on the artists Amazon gets to play (Alison Moyet, Texas and Katie Melua are in the pipeline) and how much you are willing to pay for the experience.
If you like going to gigs this could be a great way for you to get tickets to unique shows.
However, if this is your only reason to go for Amazon Prime it probably isn’t worth the subscription as you could get cheaper tickets for other dates elsewhere.
Is Amazon Prime worth it for delivery?
Amazon normally charges £3.95 for one-day delivery on clothes, shoes and bags, £5.99 for media and £7.99 for anything else.
So, to recoup the cost of a £79 Amazon Prime membership you would need to make at least 20 one-day delivery orders on fashion, 14 media orders or at least 10 orders of other items in a year.
Students paying £39 a year would need to make less effort in order to make up the cost. Just 10 clothes, bags or shoes orders, seven media orders or five miscellaneous orders a year is enough to make the membership pay for itself.
That said, Amazon does offer free delivery, but you have to spend a minimum of £20 to qualify (or £10 if the order is for books) which takes three to five working days.
So, if you rarely order from Amazon, you’re content to wait or can add items to bump up your order value to trigger free delivery each time you shop, you probably shouldn’t go for the membership, unless you are going to make use of the other benefits as well.
It's also worth pointing out that it might be cheaper to buy your item outside of Amazon (including the cost of delivery) or from a third party seller using Amazon Marketplace, which might also offer free delivery.
Is Amazon Prime worth it for streaming TV and movies?
Prime Video is included at no extra cost for Prime members, though it's possible to access it with a Prime Video membership which will set you back £5.99 a month.
You get access to stream or download 15,000 TV and film titles including The Walking Dead, as well as original shows like American Gods, Mr Robot, Hand of God, The Man in the High Castle and Transparent. You can also choose to rent or buy movies and TV shows not included with the service.
Amazon’s main rival for streaming services is Netflix, which also costs £5.99 a month for a basic membership.
It has a library of thousands of films and TV shows that you can stream like Breaking Bad as well as its own original content like House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Master of None and Narcos.
It’s hard to say which will be better as one might have more of the content you actually want to watch, so make sure you compare the two. Both allow you to download certain shows
If you do find Prime Instant Video more appealing than Netflix, you could save £71.88 a year by getting a Prime membership.
Read From Netflix to NOW TV: the cheapest way to watch films for more on the range of subscription services out there right now.
Is Amazon Prime worth it for Kindle books?
Prime members that have a Kindle or Fire device can borrow one book per month from the Kindle Lending Library, which has over 600,000 titles to choose from.
In addition members can also get a free ‘Kindle First’ title each month, weeks before the official release date.
Alternatively, you can sign up to Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited, which costs £7.99 a month. It has over one million titles and thousands of audiobooks to choose from.
However, there are cheaper e-reader subscription services, like Scribd and 24symbols which cost $8.99 (£6.98) a month to go for.
As long as you are content borrowing just one book a month with Amazon Prime and like the thought of reading a new release for free before everyone else, you save £83.76 a month by not going with a rival service or £95.88 a year by not signing up to Kindle Unlimited separately.
However, if you find the selection limited, read more than one or two books a month and don’t tend to use a combination of the other benefits on Amazon Prime you could be paying more than you need to.
Is Amazon Prime worth it for music?
Prime Music allows users to stream or download ad-free songs using a computer, tablet or smartphone.
It offers more than a million songs and albums, but is only available through Prime membership, which works out at £6.58 a month or £3.25 a month if you are student.
Rivals like Spotify and Deezer allow you to stream music for free, but you’ll have to put up with ads in between tracks. Premium ad-free subscriptions for both are £9.99 which also allow you to download content onto your devices.
So, if you like being able to listen to music without ads and to be able to download tracks, Prime Music isn’t a bad deal, especially considering what else you get for the fee.
However, the choice of music is more limited, with a little over two million tracks currently available to UK members. Spotify alone offers more than 30 million songs.
That said if you want access to more songs you can get Amazon Music Unlimited, which has 40 million songs. It usually costs £9.99 but Prime members can get it for £7.99 a month or £79 a year.
Read Cheapest and best music streaming platforms for more.
Is Amazon Prime worth it for groceries?
Amazon Fresh launched in June last year exclusively for Prime members.
Members can order their full weekly grocery shop from a range of over 130,000 products including big brands and local producers.
You can get free delivery on orders over £40 in one-hour slots from 7am to 11pm, seven days a week and same-day delivery is available for orders placed by 1pm.
For now, this service is limited to certain London postcodes so if you don’t live in one Prime isn’t really worth getting just to access Amazon Fresh.
However, if you live in an area that offers Fresh and you reckon you can replace your grocery shopping with what the service has to offer, it may work out better than sticking with the supermarkets.
Get Amazon Prime free
A great way to see if Amazon Prime is going to be worth it for you is to take advantage of the 30-day free trial.
This will give you access to the full range of benefits, free of charge for a month, allowing you to see how useful the membership is.
After the 30-day trial period you will be automatically charged £79 or £7.99 a month depending on the trial you signed up to, so if you find you aren’t that impressed make sure you cancel.
Students get a longer six-month trial period before they are charged a £39 annual fee. The free trial doesn’t include access to the Kindle Lending Library though.
You might also want to use the free trials of other e-reader, TV, movie or music subscription services too in order to see if Amazon Prime is really for you.
If you don’t want to pay for the subscription, go to ‘Your Account’ and select ‘Do not upgrade’ before the end of the free trial to ensure you are not charged.
Is it worth paying extra for Amazon Prime?
If you order regularly from Amazon, fancy the idea of a unique gig experience, pay for a music or TV and movie streaming service, order groceries and read a lot, Amazon Prime may be worth it.
But if you rarely order through Amazon, aren’t bothered about unique intimate gigs, prefer streaming video and music content from another provider, prefer shopping in-store for groceries and do not have a Kindle, Fire tablet or Fire phone, it's unlikely an Amazon Prime subscription will be good value for you.
Pay less at Amazon
Read 19 sneaky ways to save money at Amazon for tips and tricks to save big when shopping with Amazon.
This article has been updated
Save more money today!
How to haggle and save a fortune