Amazon Prime

Amazon Raising Annual Fees for Amazon Prime Membership

As expected, Amazon is hiking the cost of Amazon Prime membership for the first time in four years.

Amazon.com is raising the annual cost of Amazon Prime membership on its estimated 126 million U.S. Amazon Prime subscribers.

The price will rise to $139 in 2022, a $20 hike from the current $119 annual membership, in place since 2018. For those who pay by the month, fees climb from $12.99 to $14.99.

The online retail powerhouse announced the 17% increase alongside its fourth-quarter financial results. Amazon outlined its case for the $20 bump – the typical hike when it boosts Amazon Prime subscription fees:

"In the last few years, we’ve added more product selection available with fast, free, unlimited Prime shipping; more exclusive deals and discounts; and more high-quality digital entertainment, including TV, movies, music, and books," Amazon Prime vice president Jamil Ghani said in the Q4 press release.

The Amazon Prime subscription price increase goes into effect Feb. 18 for new members and March 25 for current members.

We wrote back in January that Amazon, which tends to hike subscription costs in four-year cycles, was largely expected to raise membership fees this year.

Of course, the retail picture in 2022 versus 2018 is a lot different – and a lot darker. Amazon and other retailers are facing plenty of challenges: supply-chain issues, worker shortages and wage increases for employees.

Also, when Amazon last raised its Prime membership cost, Walmart’s alternative, Walmart+, wasn’t around. It is now, offering free next-day or two-day delivery, prescriptions and gasoline discounts among its perks, all for $84 a year. Plus, given the general tension about inflation, Amazon risks a wave of consumer anger over this latest Prime price increase.

Amazon isn't the only popular subscription service that has upped its prices in recent years. Netflix has increased fees charged to its users three times since 2018, including a $1 to $2 hike this year, and Hulu has raised fees for its services multiple times in the past three years.

Analysts also expect Costco to increase its membership fees in 2022.

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