Amazon recently announced that it is raising its annual membership fee for Amazon Prime from $99 to $119.
It seems possible, however, to continue to pay $99 in upcoming years as long as you are willing to lay out the money now. No – Amazon does not officially allow you to prepay for several years of Prime in advance, but it does appear to offer a workaround, by letting you purchase multiple Amazon Prime Gift Memberships.
Until May 11th, when Prime’s annual membership fee jumps to $119, these “gift memberships” are available for $99+tax – and, according to Amazon’s website, can still be redeemed for a year of Prime membership. There appears to be no expiration date for redeeming the Prime gift memberships either.
Existing Prime members cannot use the gift memberships to extend their Prime subscriptions (they can “cash out” the gift memberships for Amazon gift cards valued at the original purchase prices including tax), but, it appears from Amazon’s website that if you let your Prime membership expire (i.e., set it not to auto-renew and wait until your present membership year expires), you can then immediately purchase a new membership valued at $119 by redeeming one of the gift memberships that you purchased for $99.
Of course, keep in mind that by using such a technique to keep your Prime costs down, you may jeopardize any grandfathered benefits that your Prime account currently enjoys; if you currently share your account among four adults, for example, you likely will not want to lower that number to two in order to save just $20 and its corresponding sales tax. For most folks, however, the grandfathering concern is probably a non-issue.
And, of course, Amazon can terminate the availability of this workaround at any point in time.