Published on May 10th, 2018 | by Chuck90
[Dead] Lock Yourself into Amazon Prime at $99/year before price increase
5/10/18: Price has officially increased!
Reposting 5/9/18 as now is the last chance to lock in a Prime membership at the lower $99 rate. This is true both for regular Prime membership purchases, as well as Gift of Prime purchases (which helps anyone lock in the lower rate for years to come). Both will go up to $119 at midnight tomorrow night. Our appreciation to those who buy either of those using our affiliate links.
As reported yesterday, Amazon will be increasing the cost of Prime to $119 on May 11th for new users and on June 16 for Prime renewals. [Update: a reader’s report indicates it won’t go up for renewals until some point beyond the June 16 date.] Prime Student membership will go up from $49 to $59 on the same dates.
If you are new to Amazon Prime…
If you are considering Amazon Prime, it’s a good time to buy it now before May 11th when the price increases. Your best deal would be to go through iBotta to get back a $20 Amazon gift card, or through Topcashback or Swagbucks to get a $15 Amazon gift card. (Note: these don’t give you a 30-day free trial.) Low income households can signup for a $5.99/month plan.
We appreciate if you signup for a free Amazon Prime 30-day trial using our affiliate link; this will also lock you in for your first paid year at the $99 rate after the free month ends. If you’re a student, you can signup for a free 6-month trial here; this will lock you in for your first paid year at the $49 rate after the free 6-month trial ends.
If you are an existing Amazon Prime subscriber…
If your Prime subscription renews June 16 or beyond, you’ll get hit with the $20 price increase. There is, however, a way to lock yourself into the lower $99 rate for the future by purchasing a Gift of Prime. Gift of Prime is meant as a way to gift someone else a year of Amazon Prime, but you can simply send it to your own email (they state that clearly) and use it yourself as well.
An added advantage of using this method is that you can use your Amazon gift card balance to pay for Gift of Prime whereas standard Prime requires credit card payment. It’s a roundabout way of paying for Prime with an Amazon gift card balance.
There’s little risk involved since Prime members can convert a Gift of Prime membership to become like an Amazon gift card and be applied to their Amazon gift card balance. Simply click through the email Gift of Prime link, the system will recognize you as an existing Prime member, and it’ll give you the option of having the $99 (+ tax) applied to your Amazon gift card balance. So if you decide next week that you regret the Gift of Prime purchase, it’ll just convert to an Amazon gift card balance. [Even if you are not a Prime member, you can cash out the Gift of Prime by scrolling down into the fine print of the email and clicking the link that states: “If you…do not want to activate the Prime membership, you’ll be able to exchange your Prime gift for an Amazon.com Gift Card. Click here.”]
Side note: Both a Prime subscription and the Gift of Prime have sales tax in most states. Tip: if your default address is set to one of the 19 states which does not have tax on Prime, you can save sales tax by paying for the Gift of Prime with your Amazon gift card balance, or by paying a credit card which has the billing address in one of those 19 states.
Here’s how to go about using the Gift of Prime trick:
- Cancel your existing Prime membership at this link. It’ll seem scary at first, as if you’re losing your Prime immediately, but as you click through they’ll make it clear that you’ll keep the full Prime membership until your year is up.
- Buy a Gift of Prime membership here for $99 and have it sent to your email address.
- Save the email, don’t click through the link right now. Star it, put it in a special folder, add a reminder somewhere – however you deal with important stuff.
- After your Prime subscription lapses, click the link in the email to begin a new Prime membership using the Gift of Prime email.
You can even buy a few Gift of Prime memberships to save on the next few years of Amazon Prime. As noted, these convert back to Amazon gift cards, and there isn’t much risk in doing so.
A few downsides to keep in mind:
- It’s obviously easier to let it all go automatically.
- If you have a second Amazon Household account, it’ll likely have to be set up again under the new Prime membership.
- For the day or two that the Prime membership lapses, your Amazon Prime 5% credit card won’t be getting the 5% rewards rate.
- You are fronting the money for the future Prime purchase. Not much risk, but still float, especially if you buy out a few years worth.
[Note: If you are still on the grandfathered Prime account which has 5 Household members, don’t use the Gift of Prime method – once your Prime expires, you’ll be signing up for the new system which limits users to having just one other account.]
Thanks to Dansdeals for making us aware of this method