To Prime, or not to Prime

Amazon Prime (CA/US) is a popular subscription, and there are many good reasons to use it. Depending on your principles, and situation, you should also consider a few warnings before committing.

The Good

  • Free 2-hour to two-day shipping
    • If you’re trying to minimize travel, this can be a lifesaver
    • When I walked for groceries, it was nice to carry only perishables, everything else was delivered to my door
  • Prime Video
    • The selection isn’t great, but some of the original content is fantastic
      • The Man in the High Castle
      • American Gods
  • Unlimited photo storage
    • I don’t have enough photos to bother, but it is always nice to have another option for backups
  • Audible promotion
    • Prime members get 3 free audiobooks, instead of one, when signing up
  • 20% off diapers
    • I don’t use diapers, but I hear this is a great deal for parents
  • Twitch Prime
    • Several perks for gamers, and people who watch gamers
  • Discounts on videogame pre-orders
    • Used to be an amazing 20%!
    • Now only 10%…
  • Early Access to Lightning Deals
    • Members get a 30 minute head start
  • Amazon basics discount
    • I believe they used to have a 20% discount year-round, but have only seen it for special occasions, like Prime Day
  • Prime Day
    • Second Tuesday in July
    • It’s essentially another Cyber Monday, but for Prime members only
  • Student discount
    • Students can become members for half off!
  • Prime Music
    • As I understand, not the best option, but good value
  • American-only deals
    • Prime Reading
      • Read unlimited books from a rotating selection
        • Kindle apps on other devices are ineligible
    • Prime Now
      • Those in eligible locations get free two-hour shipping for groceries
      • Specific areas have free 1 hour shipping with partner restaurants

The Bad

  • For $120/year, $80/year in Canada, you need to use several services, or spend enough in certain categories, to justify the cost.
  • Many of the perks encourage spending
    • This is the gamble, if you can avoid the temptation to buy more than you would have otherwise, Prime can be a great deal
  • Discounts can change quietly
    • I expect the streaming/cloud services will only improve, but some of the other perks could be reduced
  • Subscription creep
    • Already using, and planning to keep, several other subscriptions? You can test consolidating to Amazon, and see which you prefer.
    • This can be a perk for those who like building forts
  • Certain shipping companies are worse than useless
    • Relying on Amazon will lead to many hours reporting damaged goods. When you have issues, contact Amazon directly, they have great customer service.

Do I use Amazon Prime?

I recently decided to cancel my membership. It is a good value for many, but I already have plenty of incentive, and content, to consume. I’m also Canadian, and haven’t student discounted in many years. Amazon is Prime in convenience, but you will end up paying for it, one way or another. If you are cautious, and the stars align, the combination of convenience and services can surpass any competitor.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.