Is Amazon Prime still worth it at $119 a year?

Can be costly if you are not a frequent shoppper

There's good news and bad news for Amazon Prime customers this summer.

Prime members are getting discounts at Whole Foods, where your Amazon app will get you an additional 10 percent off on sale items at the grocery chain.

But at the same time, Amazon has just begun raising the price of Prime membership, leading some to wonder if it is still worth it.

A one-year membership to Amazon Prime is rising $20, from $99 to $119 (it was $79 a year until 2015). The rollout, like with many Amazon changes, will be gradual, so you may see not see it on your bill for a few more months. Monthly memberships are rising $2 per month.

Some Prime members we spoke with, like Linda Sanders, are not sure they are going to renew, saying enough is enough.

"That's too much," Sanders said. "I will not make enough purchases to you know, cover that. I'm not going to do that."

At one lunch table in downtown Cincinnati, Riley Miranda said Amazon Prime has gotten too pricey for her.

"I personally don't think it's worth it," she said.

Miranda's co-worker, Shannon Ferrier disagreed, however.

"I know people that order everything off Amazon Prime, even paper towels," she said. "So I can see it being worth it for some."

Is it still worthwhile?

So at $120 a year, is prime membership still worth paying for?

Here's a good way to tell. Most people use Amazon Prime for the free shipping. But If you order only 12 things a year (one order per month), you're really paying $10 to ship each "free" package.

And if you only order three packages a year. you've just spent $40 to ship each of those boxes, a terrible deal.

A new analysis by the Motley Fool says Amazon Prime is worth it if:

  • You place a lot of small orders. Otherwise you will be nickeled and dimed on shipping.
  • You shop at Whole Foods, thanks to those new grocery discounts, exclusive for Prime members.
  • You watch Prime Video.
  • You listen to Prime Music.

But Prime may not be worth it if:

  • You just make just 5 or 6 purchases each year.
  • You spend more than $25 per order, which qualifies for free shipping, anyway.

No one can predict how many members will drop Prime, though Linda Sanders says count her in.

"I'm sorry, I'm not going to pay that much," she said.

But with 100 million members, Amazon figures it can lose a few, and still make a small fortune due to the rate hike.

Whatever you decide to do, don't waste your money.

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