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Is Amazon Prime worth it?

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Written by Dan Base, Financial Content Writer

27 December 2018

Amazon Prime costs £79 a year in the UK and offers one-day delivery, music and instant video streaming and more. But what exactly are the benefits, and are they good value for money?

Where to get Amazon Prime

You can sign up to a free trial of Amazon Prime for 30 days. You can then cancel the trial when it ends or keep the benefits and pay for it monthly or annually.

Get a free 30 day Amazon Prime trial here

What is included with Amazon Prime?

  • Free one day delivery on thousands of items sold by Amazon

  • Amazon Instant Video streaming with access to thousands of shows and movies across multiple devices and computers

  • The Kindle eBook library, which lets you borrow books for your Kindle E-reader or Fire tablet

  • Online digital photo storage with no limits using Amazon Drive

  • Prime Music, an ad-free music streaming service that can be used on computers, tablets and phones

  • 30 minute early access to Lightning Deals, which are time limited special offers on a range of products

Amazon Prime will also include 20 Premier League football matches from the 2019/2020 season.

How much does Amazon Prime cost?

You can pay for the whole package at a cost of £79 each year. Amazon also now let customers pay monthly instead. It costs £7.99 a month, which comes to £95.88 each year.

You can get a 30 day free Amazon Prime trial if you are a new customer, which lets you try out all of the benefits beforehand.

You can cancel it when the trial comes to an end. Alternatively, you can continue Prime membership and start paying the full £79 a year or £7.99 per month if you want to keep the benefits.

Is annual or monthly membership cheaper?

Paying annually is still cheaper overall at £79 because monthly membership comes to £95.88 per year. But monthly payments are more affordable in the short term and offer more flexibility.

Can students get a discount on Amazon Prime?

Yes, students can get Amazon Prime at half price until they graduate (for up to four years). This comes to £39 per year.

Students can also get a free trial of Amazon Prime that lasts for six months instead of the usual 30 days. This includes exclusive student discounts as well as their free delivery, video, music and photo services.

The free trial does not include Kindle First or access to their lending library.

Sign up to a free trial of Prime Student for six months

How should you pay for Amazon Prime?

You can pay for Prime using the payment method linked to your Amazon account, usually a credit card or debit card.

Your card will be charged either annually or monthly, depending on how you choose to pay. Paying annually is cheaper if you can afford it with money in your bank account or savings.

Alternatively, you could spread the cost of annual membership with a 0% purchases credit card. You can then pay it back over several months without paying interest.

Is Amazon Prime worth the price?

In February 2014, Amazon Prime went from £49 to £79 per year. Whether it is worth its new price tag depends upon how often you are going to use it and working out whether it gives you value for money.

If you only want to use Amazon Prime delivery

To make the £79 cost worthwhile you need to place the equivalent of:

  • 20 or more orders of clothes (£3.95 for one day delivery)

  • 13 or 14 orders of media (£5.99 one day delivery)

  • 10 orders of anything else (£7.99 one day delivery).

If you can wait longer for your order, some of the other delivery options available include:

  • Free delivery is available with a £20 minimum spend on eligible items (products sold or fulfilled by Amazon) and Items will be delivered three to five days after dispatch.

  • Standard delivery is calculated on weight if items are not eligible for free delivery; they are usually delivered within one to two business days after dispatch. Prices start from £1.99 for media weighing up to 0.5kg and £2.99 on orders weighing more than 0.5kg. Books cost £2.99 per delivery and all other product types start at £3.99.

  • Express delivery orders placed before the deadline will arrive by 1pm the following day. It costs £6.49 without amazon prime and £4.49 with prime.

  • Same day evening delivery (for selected UK postcodes). These eligible items are delivered between 6pm and 10pm. This is a free service with Amazon Prime but for those without it the service costs £9.99 per delivery.

Being an Amazon Prime customer gets you delivery upgrades. If you need to expedite your delivery, find out more here.

If you rarely order from Amazon

If you are not interested in streaming music and TV, you are probably best off saving £79 and sticking with free super saver delivery on orders of £20 or more as long as you don't mind waiting three to five days for orders to arrive.

If you order rarely but are interested in instant streaming, you could try the free trial and see whether you make full use of the service before deciding to take the plunge.

Try all the free trials for NetflixNow TV and Wuaki too, to see which one you like the best.

Is Amazon Prime Instant Video better than the competition?

At £79 annually, Prime works out at £6.58 a month, which is similar to other streaming video services:

  • Netflix plans start at £5.99 a month

  • Now TV starts at £6.99 per month

However, with Amazon Prime you get the delivery service, music streaming and Kindle library too. If Amazon Prime Instant Video has got your favourite films and shows and you are going to use it for hours on end, you might find it worth the price.

Amazon Prime is available to stream on all Kindle Fire tablets, along with more than 600 other devices, including most computers, consoles, smartphones, tablets and smart TVs.

How good is Amazon Prime's Instant Video content?

Currently you take your pick of more than 15,000 TV programmes and films.

Amazon has also said it is "investing heavily in exclusive content", which has so far included original shows like Transparent, Extant and the new project from Top Gear's former presenters. Amazon also allows you to download videos to your tablet or mobile so you can watch your favourite videos on the go.

What does Prime Music offer?

Prime Music is Amazon's music streaming service. Its basic service comes with Prime at no extra cost and offers access to around two million songs with no adverts.

It was added to Prime's features in July 2015, and features include:

  • Playing songs on your device or computer through Amazon's website

  • Playing songs using the Amazon Music application on your tablet or smartphone*

  • Downloading songs on your computer or device

  • Creating playlists you can play through the app even when you are offline

*Including Android devices and Apple products

What are Prime Stations?

They are ad-free personalised music streaming stations that have been added to the Prime Music service. You can like and dislike the songs that are played and skip as many as you like.

What is Prime Music Unlimited?

It is an extended streaming service that offers the same features as Prime Music but with a music library of around 40 million songs.

It costs £9.99 per month, but Prime members can get either of these discounts:

  • Paying £7.99 a month (£2 cheaper)

  • Paying £79 upfront for a whole year (£6.58 per month)

You can apply for a 30 day free trial of Amazon Music Unlimited here

How does Prime Music compare to other streaming services?

Other streaming services like Spotify, Deezer, Tidal, Apple Music and Google Play are available as a standalone subscription. But Prime Music's basic package can only be accessed as part of the full Amazon Prime service.

It is cheaper than other streaming sites, which charge around £10 per month. Amazon Prime membership can be £6.58 per month and also includes its one day free delivery service, video streaming, photo storage and eBook library.

Its choice of music is more limited, with around two million tracks currently available to UK members. Spotify and Apple Music each offer more than 30 million songs.

However, their Prime Music Unlimited service offers about 40 million songs and is cheaper than most other music streaming services if you add it to the full Prime service.

The Amazon Prime Kindle eBook library

Amazon Prime's Kindle Owners' Lending Library lets you borrow one book per month, which you must return before taking out another one.

While one book is slightly restricting, this is mitigated by the fact that there are half a million books to choose from - which should keep even the fastest reader going for some time.

There are no due dates or deadlines for returning books, and they can be shared between your Kindle devices and Kindle apps (but not across multiple user accounts).

The verdict on Amazon Prime

Whether Amazon Prime is worth it for you will depend entirely on how much use you are going to get from it.

  • If you regularly order from Amazon, pay for a music or TV and movie streaming service and read a lot, Amazon Prime may be worth it

  • If you do not really order enough to justify the £79 price, stream video and music content from another provider and do not have a Kindle, it is unlikely you will find much use for Amazon Prime

How to share Amazon Prime

You can share your Prime benefits with one other adult and up to four children at no extra cost by creating an Amazon Household.

How to cancel Amazon Prime

If you decide to end your Prime membership, head to the login page on amazon.co.uk and sign into your account, go to Manage Your Prime Membership, and select the End membership option (if you have paid) or Do not continue (if you are in the trial period).

Once you have opted out of automatic renewal, you will not get charged after your free trial or current year's membership is up. Of course, if you change your mind and want to carry on, you can sign up again or alter your membership preferences later.

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