Web Analytics

Is Amazon Prime Worth It? Our 2021 Review

Amazon Prime Review

StayingFrugal.com is a member of the Amazon Affiliate program. This article may contain affiliate links. Learn More


Is Amazon Prime Worth It Having?

Whenever I mention that my wife and I are Amazon Prime members the follow up question is almost always “yea but is Prime really worth $119 a year?”.

For us the answer is a resounding YES!

What Is Amazon Prime?

Amazon Prime Homepage

Amazon Prime is an Amazon membership service that provides access to instant video, movies, TV, music, photos, special Prime Day discounts and two day shipping on most orders from Amazon.

Amazon Prime costs $119 per year or $12.99 per month if you pay monthly. If you are an EBT or Medicaid cardholder you can also qualify for a discounted membership of $5.99 per month. Amazon also offers a Student Prime Membership for just $59 per year or $6.49 if paid monthly.

Whether we’re shopping online, watching TV or listening to music, we find ourselves using Amazon services more than almost any other brand.

I wanted to provide a little bit more detail on why I think Amazon Prime membership is such a great deal and how it can pay for itself by replacing services you might already pay for.


Free Two Day Shipping

My wife and I really take advantage of Prime’s free two day shipping and if it’s something we can wait for, we just let Amazon deliver it for us.

We don’t mind going to stores like Target or Walmart, but we have three kids under five years old so getting out to the store is a process and can rarely be done in under two hours.

With Amazon Prime we just order whatever it is we need and it’s at our house in a couple of days. Occasionally some items will make it in ONE day if we order early enough. Update: With everything going on the world these days, some orders have been delayed a day or two. We still get the majority of our orders within two days though.

Not everything on Amazon qualifies for the two day shipping but most items have a Prime option.

Amazon will let you filter only on items that qualify for Prime so you know you’re getting free shipping. You can find this option in the sidebar as shown in the image below.

Amazon Prime only filter option
Check this box to see items that qualify for free Prime shipping

It’s a big time (and frustration) saver for us and I know we’re getting our $119 worth out of the shipping alone.

Before I move on to the next benefit I do want to point out that you do NOT need Prime to get free shipping from Amazon.

If you spend $25 or more on your order you get free shipping (standard, not two day) but with Prime there’s no minimum so if you just want to spend $0.99 on a toothbrush you can.

If you’re not a frequent Amazon shopper then this may be the way to go and a Prime Membership may not be worth it for you.


Prime Instant Video

Amazon Prime Instant Video

Earlier this year I wrote a post about how my family cut the cable cord this year and Amazon Prime is a big reason why we were able to.

Prime Instant Video is essentially the same thing as Netflix with a library of movies and TV shows on demand streaming through your TV, computer, tablet or phone.

We use Prime Instant Video and Netflix together because they have slightly different content available, but Prime Instant Video includes more than enough content to keep you entertained without paying for Netflix.

Children’s Programming

We’re constantly using Prime Instant Video to catch up on old seasons of TV shows we like or stream PBS and Nick Jr. shows for our kids.

Amazon Prime Instant Video Kids Programming

Add On Channels

If you’re looking for more than just Amazon Prime Instant Video you also have the option of adding additional television packages to your prime account.

Amazon Prime Add On Channels

For example you could add the following channels:

  • HBO – 7 Day Free Trial (then $14.99 / month)
  • Starz – 7 Day Free Trial (then $8.99 / month)
  • Showtime – 7 Day Free Trial (then $10.99 / month)
  • CBS All Access – 7 Day Free Trial (then $5.99 / month)
  • Cinemax – 7 Day Free Trial (then $9.99 / month)

Prime Music

Amazon Music

When we talk about streaming music we usually go straight to Spotify, Pandora or now Apple Music, but did you know that Amazon has a streaming music service included with Prime too?

With Amazon Prime Music you have access to two million songs on commercial free playlists or albums from some of your favorite artists.

Need more music? Amazon also offers Amazon Music Unlimited which bumps your song options up to ten million songs.

An Individual Music Plan for Amazon Music Unlimited costs $7.99 a month, or a Family Plan that can be used by up to 6 people for $14.99 a month.

Amazon is also offering a Free 30 day trial of Amazon Music Unlimited so you have time to decide whether the extra cost is worth it.

A Prime membership costs the same as a year of  Spotify alone, plus you get the other Amazon Prime benefits.


Prime Photos

Over the last year Amazon recently rolled out Prime Photos, a cloud based photo storage service, to their list of prime benefits.

The best part? It’s unlimited so you can upload as many photos of your kids, your vacation or your dinner as you want and it won’t cost you a penny more.

One thing to note – Prime Photos storage is available for photos only so if you’re a Dropbox, Google Drive or iCloud subscriber and want to store PDF’s or any other work files or media you may want to look into Amazon CloudDrive for $19.99 for 100GB or 59.99 1TB per year.

If you pay for Dropbox, Google Drive or iCloud to store your photos, you could switch to Prime for the same price.


Other Benefits

Prime membership also includes other benefits like the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library where you can virtually “borrow” books from other members (if you have a Kindle – doesn’t work with iPads or other non-Amazon tablets).

You also have access to Amazon Prime Pantry where you can buy household goods for a $5.99 fee, or free shipping for Prime members on orders of $35 or more.

Cons of Amazon Prime

We love Prime but as with any service, Prime isn’t perfect but the list of cons is really pretty minimal.

For example, if you like to buy gifts for out of town friends and relatives your shipping to their house isn’t free.

There are also some shows/movies/songs that aren’t available on Prime Instant Video and Prime Music service but for most of us these are non-issues and you can certainly work around them.

Recap – So Is Amazon Prime Worth It?

Amazon Prime may be worth it to you if…

  • You order products from Amazon frequently (free 2 day shipping)
  • You’re looking for a cheaper alternative to Netflix (Prime Instant Video)
  • You’re looking for a cheaper alternative to Spotify (Prime Music)
  • You’re looking for a place to store unlimited photos (Prime Photos)

Amazon Prime may not be worth it to you if…

  • You don’t order from Amazon frequently
  • Your Amazon orders are typically over $25 (Amazon offers free shipping for orders $25+ without prime)
  • You don’t watch streaming video
  • You don’t listen to streaming music

How Much Money Do We Save With Prime Membership?

An Amazon Prime membership delivers a lot of value.

If you replaced Netflix ($12.99/mo), Spotify ($9.99/mo) and Dropbox ($9.99) with the services that Amazon prime offers with a membership, you would save $276 per year even before the free shipping.

Your membership fee will be well worth the $119 a month cost and would more than pay for itself.

Sign Up For A Free 30 Day Trial

Here’s the best part… if you want to find out if Amazon Prime is worth it for yourself then sign up for a FREE 30 day trial and find out for yourself. I’m willing to bet you like it!


Have you used Amazon Prime? What are your thoughts on the service?

29 thoughts on “Is Amazon Prime Worth It? Our 2021 Review”

  1. I ship gifts to my grandkids all the time and have never had to pay shipping with Prime. The only downside is that I have to pay their state taxes, which is a bummer, me being an Oregon resident with no state taxes.

  2. I’ve been using Amazon Prime for the last couple years. Since I originally signed up, Amazon has rolled out a number of extra benefits like video streaming. Happy that they keep adding more for the same price. I think it is worth the price…. and if you can get the student discount even better. Save those .edu email accounts.

    1. It depends on what you order but it’s almost always 2 days for us. Occasionally they have a stock issue and it takes an extra day but they notify you pretty quickly. Ive only had a few issues like that and they were sold by third parties (aka “fulfillment by Amazon”) so I’m more inclined to blame them than Amazon themselves. I’ve also seen some listings say near the top that the item may take a few extra days to ship or “not available until X date” but they put it in the listing pretty prominently so you don’t miss it.

  3. watch out, they are now charging $7 per pantry box, so 4 boxes of $5 gatorade now costs more than double the costs. New policy that started this week.

    1. It really is pretty great. The shipping is worth it for us alone (with little kids it’s hard to get to the store sometimes) but theres so many extras it totally justifies the expense for us.

  4. I signed onto Amazon Prime to get speedy service in getting my orders from Amazon.com. I canceled my Amazon Prime membership after I ordered a DVD rack from Amazon and didn’t get it because it was delivered to the wrong house. They said the package was left on our front porch next to our door. We don’t have a front porch. Our patio leads up to our front door. So, someone else got our shipment and we got nothing. We haven’t ordered anything from Amazon since, and don’t intend to. Instead, we go to Walmart and buy what we need.

    1. That sounds like it might be an issue with the carrier (UPS, Fed Ex or US Postal Service)… did you contact them when it happened? UPS left a package at the wrong house once for us as well but Amazon had a new one out for us the next day.

    2. My house number was 823 1/2 and my neighbor’s was 823 so UPS got My Amazon orders mixed up all the time. It was no big deal. I just went over to my neighbor’s and grabbed my box off their porch as soon as I got the text that I had a delivery. Mistakes happen, I just extend grace!

  5. I buy gifts for my grandchildren in GA, TX and PA. throughout the year
    .
    My reason for considering Amazon Prime is their free shipping advertising. If you charge shipping costs for that i guess i will have to skip it.

  6. Prime is good but there are so many products that are not even add ons, that you have to spend $25 or even $35 to even get the product. You can’t say, ok I will just pay for shipping, no!! You must order 25 or 35 just to even get the product that you want. Prime member or not. The prime movies are good, but I am seriously thinking about renewing my membership simply on the fact that no matter if I’m a member or not, if there is only 1 item that I want, it is possible that I have to spend 25 or 35 dollars to get that item. Just remember, it is not all items, but very many items that have this rule attached to them. And I didn’t find out about this until after I joined.

    1. That’s strange, are you logged in when you are seeing the $25 minimum? For non-prime members the minimum is $25 for free shipping, but I’ve placed a single small order (a cable for my computer or a box of pencils) a bunch of times and it was always free. If you’re seeing a minimum purchase requirement I would definitely contact their customer service… they’ve always been great when I needed help with something.

  7. I just chatted with Amazon support yesterday about the perks of Prime. None of the dozen items I was ordering qualified for the free shipping. I asked if they had a filter for Prime Products, but they told me they do not have that option at this time but are working on it. So I am not sure why you say “Amazon has lets you filter only on items that qualify for Prime (there’s a little check box on the left side) so you know you’re getting free shipping.” in this article. It’s simply not true.

    If you are wanting to order mostly house hold or office items, then maybe it would worth it. But if your purchases are normally over 25$ anyway, there is no point. You’ll free shipping without Prime.

    1. The Amazon rep you spoke to was incorrect. I use the filter all the time. Here’s are screenshots from both the browser and app (ios) that both have a prime filter. I highlighted both of them in red boxes. Hope this helps!

      Amazon prime filter box

      Amazon app prime filter

  8. Roger Christensen

    I am close to the end of free trial and will probably subscribe for a year. I like the Amazon produced videos such as “Transparent” but my surfing too often finds content which requires additional (and expensive) subscription. This push for buying additional subscriptions is troubling but net for me makes paying for an additional year of basic prime worthwhile.

  9. From a money value and savings perspective I think it is totally worth it. but there’s a condition: do you shop often on amazon? If yes, then go ahead. Because paying an annual membership fee for Prime will only pay off if you are frequent buyer (including groceries, for instance) – all of which will then only add up against the fee you pay. But thanks for writing this; gonna send it to my sister who uses my account to shop and she shops like a anti-window shopper. Sigh.

  10. The free, fast shipping is great for a small town.
    The streaming is so slow it is worthless. I haven’t watched anything on it for almost two years. Meanwhile Youtube and Netflix stream just fine. Amazon tech help: worthless. Told to turn off other devices and apps-none of which were on and I don’t even have apps on it anyhow. This is with a new Firestick. Really debating about dropping the whole thing.

    1. I agree the shipping feature really is great. Even when you have options locally it’s just nice not to have to run out sometimes… especially if its cheaper anyway!

      That’s very strange about the slow streaming, my kids use it all the time (to watch Daniel Tiger mostly) but we rarely have an issue. It’s about 2 feet from the router though so it’s probably getting a strong signal. Have you tried asking for a replacement Fire stick?

  11. Lizette Novotasky

    I just cancelled my Prime subscription, I got feed up that every time I wanted to watch a movie it was not cover by prime and they wanted between 2.99 to 7.99 to watch. I don’t order that much and when I do usually is more than 35$ . I started the service at the end of February and I cancelled at the end of June and they return me less that half of the money I pay. So for me is not worth it.

    1. Good feedback Lizette, I didn’t realize that about the pro-rated refund on Prime. Did you follow up on it to see if they made a mistake?

      About the movies, they have a lot but definitely not everything as you said. Amazon, Netflix, HULU, etc each have their own contracts on which content they can and can not stream. Odds are it’s on one of the other streaming services. If you use Roku there is a search feature that will tell you which of the services (if any) carry the movie or show you’re looking for.

  12. I don’t see any benefits to it at all. I signed up for the freebie but then cancelled immediately. Nothing there that interests me at all.

  13. I have lost faith in Prime shipping. It seems as though the 2 day shipping you pay for is now 8 day shipping. Some items take over a month to be delivered. Personally, once my paid year is done, so is prime. It all started for fall apart when amazon decided it would be cheaper for them to deliver things themselves rather than use Fedex or UPS. Deliveries were immediately much later and it has never recovered. Yah, I know the virus is causing delays, but 8 days delivery for a prime product that is in stock? Please!

  14. I’ve had Prime when they first started. I cancelled 5 months ago and it officially ended yesterday. The reason too much price gouging during the pandemic. Even if most is 3rd party they don’t do a thing to stop it. And like the previous poster the 2 days become 5-6 days. And not essential items and if things are delayed during the pandemic yet they still take my prime money.

    And far as one of your points: A process to get out with your young children and can’t get to Target or Walmart, they have an online store too. Walmart, I always get my stuff in two days.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *