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If You Use Amazon, Prepare to Pay More Starting Tomorrow

The online retailer is raising the price of a popular feature at the end of the week.

To say that Amazon has revolutionized the way we shop wouldn't be an overstatement. The online retailer reported over $367 billion in sales in 2020, delivering 4.2 billion packages to customers worldwide. But as more people count on the convenience and savings that can come with shopping with the e-commerce giant, even the slightest change can significantly affect the overall experience. Now, Amazon has announced that customers will have to pay more to use one of its most popular features starting Feb. 18. Read on to see what's getting more expensive—and how you may be able to avoid the price hike.

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The price of an Amazon Prime membership is going up at the end of this week.

woman ordering from amazon

Beginning Feb. 18, Amazon will raise the price of its Prime subscription service from $119 to $139 per year for its customers in the U.S., USA Today reports. The cost of monthly memberships will also increase by $2 from $12.99 to $14.99 for subscribers who don't hold an annual subscription.

Current Prime subscribers won't see the price increase until March 25. After that date, their next renewal charge will reflect the new cost.

According to officials with the company, the price increase reflects "the continued expansion of Prime member benefits as well as the rise in wages and transportation costs."

Prime subscribers have access to several perks with the company.

amazon fake reviews scrolling with packages

While it's only an add-on to the service, Prime membership has become popular among Amazon customers—especially during the pandemic. In 2021, the company said that it had added more than 50 million new subscribers over the previous year, bringing the worldwide total to more than 200 million paying members, The Verge reports.

Customers pay for Prime thanks for the perks it provides and the potential money it can save. Members see such benefits as free two-day delivery on millions of items, free one-day delivery on more than 10 million items, and free same-day delivery in some areas for orders of $35 or more. It's also not just about shipping: Subscribers also receive access to Prime Video and Amazon Music streaming services, thousands of free titles with Prime Reading, unlimited free storage with Amazon Photo, and special deals and discounts on groceries at Whole Foods Market.

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You can still lock in your current membership rate for an extra year with one trick.

Amazon {Online Shopping Tips}

Amazon shoppers who've been holding off on subscribing can still take advantage of the lower pricing by signing up before the increase takes effect on Feb. 18. But even if you're an existing member, there's still a way for you to get an extra year of the current Prime rate, according to Lifehacker.

To secure the lower price, buy a gift membership from the website before the new rate takes effect at the end of the week. From there, visit the Amazon homepage and click on Memberships and Subscriptions, then Prime Membership Settings, and finally Manage Membership. Then, if it's set to auto-renew after the March 25 deadline for existing customers, simply cancel the auto-renewal and resubscribe using the gift subscription you just purchased.

There are other options besides Amazon that can help you save on online shopping.

Walmart store exterior. Walmart is an American multinational corporation that runs large discount stores and is the world's largest public corporation.

If the Prime price increase puts the service out of your budget range, there are still other options that can help you get the most out of shopping online. Retail competitor Walmart offers its own subscription service known as Walmart+, which costs $12.95 or $98 per year. Members receive similar perks, including free same-day delivery from your local Walmart store in some areas, priority access to deals and sale items, and discounts on essentials such as gas and prescriptions, CBS News reports.

However, the decreased price does come with a few disadvantages. Unlike Prime, Walmart+ doesn't include streaming services like Prime Video or Amazon Music. Walmart+ subscribers also don't have access to grocery discounts that come as part of a Prime membership and also miss out on the deals offered on items during Amazon's annual Prime Day sale.

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Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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