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Amazon Prime Jumps From $99 A Year To $119: Still Worth It?

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Heads up, Amazon Prime members: the company is raising annual subscription fees to $119. The price hike applies for students as well, bringing the annual cost to $59.  ( Adrian Dennis | AFP/Getty Images )

Amazon just raised the price of annual Prime memberships from $99 to $119. The student discount also inflated to $59 per year. These apply only in the United States.

Each case represents a price hike of 20 percent over the current cost. The last price hike was implemented in 2014, when Amazon made yearly Prime memberships $99 instead of $79, which had been the cost of Prime since it was introduced in 2005.

"The value of Prime to customers has never been greater," according to Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky during an earnings call on April 26. "And the cost is also high, as we pointed out — especially with shipping options and digital benefits, we continue to see rises in costs."

Amazon Prime Price Hike

The price hike will be effective May 11. Existing Prime users will see the new annual fee applied to their renewals starting June 16. The news comes just a week after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos confirmed that there are 100 million Prime members worldwide. Prime, for those who don't know, is a premium service that combines free two-day and one-day shipping along with many perks, including access to Prime Video, Prime Music, Kindle books, exclusive promos, and — probably moving forward thanks to the acquisition — Whole Foods discounts.

The price increase only applies to annual subscriptions, it should be noted. There's an option to pay monthly, but it costs $12.99 — around $156 a year, which makes a great case toward going for the annual membership instead.

Is Prime Still Worth It?

There's no question — Prime is very much still worth it, even at $119. For many, the free shipping service alone makes having a Prime membership a no-brainer, but the perks really do make Prime a must-have. For instance, there's Prime Now, available in select areas, which delivers items to your doorstep in as little as an hour. Prime also gives subscribers unlimited photo storage, plus a free e-book each month on top of magazines and audiobooks. That's a lot of value for your money.

The value still depends on what you get out of it. For instance, users who aren't really frequent shoppers and mainly just use Prime Video can opt instead for a monthly Prime Video subscription at $5.99 a month, and Amazon even has a promo cutting the price down to $2.99 for the first six months. Even still, it's easy to imagine that most users will simply go all in and subscribe to Prime anyway to get everything.

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