UPDATE#2: I actually did this with four friends when my Prime expired yesterday, on 11/15/12. It worked out fine. I added a few details that I found out below.
UPDATE: At the request of several Daily Cheapskate readers, I'm re-posting this valuable tip. Our Prime membership is up in a week, and we plan on reducing the cost of the membership by splitting it with family and friends.
Have you been hankering after an Amazon Prime membership, but don't want to plunk down the $79 annual Prime membership cost? Did you know that you can join Amazon Prime and then share the membership with others? From the Amazon Help section:
Prime members under a free trial or paid subscription can share their shipping benefits with up to 4 additional family members living in the same household, or up to 4 coworkers to shop for the related account. Other Prime membership benefits such as Prime instant video and the Kindle Owners' Lending Library can't be shared. To invite family members to share your Amazon Prime membership, sign in to Your Account and click on the link to "Manage Prime Membership." You'll see your current membership details, the status of all members linked to your Amazon Prime membership, and options to add or remove members. Amazon Mom and Amazon Student members with Amazon Prime shipping benefits and customers receiving a free month of Amazon Prime benefits with Kindle Fire will not be able to share their benefits with additional people. All existing shared household members will continue to receive shipping benefits if the primary member switches to the Amazon Prime shipping benefits offered by one of these programs, however, the primary member will not be able to add or change shared household members if they move to one of these programs.So here's the rundown:
- If you have Amazon Prime, you can share your 2-day free shipping benefits with up to four other accounts. Log in, go to "Your Account" and then "Manage Prime Membership" to add other Amazon account holders to your membership.
- You cannot share other Prime Benefits, like Instant Video or the Kindle Lending Library.
- If you are also a member of Amazon Mom or Amazon Student, you cannot share your account with other Amazon members. You can always cancel your Amazon Mom and Amazon Student memberships if you would rather share your account with other than keep those membership benefits.
So how does this save you money? Think about it. If you share the $79 cost with four other people, that brings the cost of Amazon Prime down to less than $16 per account! Even if you split it with just one other person, that's a great cost-saving measure for a valuable benefit. Be aware, there is no way to officially share the cost. You will have to work this out privately with your family members and friends. Perhaps the person who retains the primary ownership will pay a little bit more because (s)he can also take advantage of the Instant Video and other benefits. Personally, I think it should be an even split, because the shipping benefits are really what gives this membership value.
Why do I value my Amazon Prime membership even more than my ShopRunner membership or other free shipping programs? Because Amazon is a more global type of shopping experience. What do I mean by this?
- It works alongside my Swagbucks account. I redeem my Swagbuck points for several $5 Amazon gift cards on Swagbucks each month. This provides me with a "slush fund" that I can use to buy things on Amazon that I don't necessarily have the budget for. (By the way, parenthetically, if you haven't joined Swagbucks yet, you are leaving money on the table. Please join now, for Pete's sake.)
- Amazon prices aren't always so great, but when they have deals, wow, they have deals. (I try to post them as quickly as I find them.) This past year, I probably did about a third of my Passover shopping on Amazon. What a surprising resource for KLP food! Between Subscribe & Save, special deals on my Amazon Rewards Visa, Kindle books, free Amazon music and video credits, etc. I feel that I do very, very well on Amazon.
- Amazon sells everything. If I were stuck on a desert island and could only access one Internet shopping portal (yes, I know that's utterly ridiculous), I would choose Amazon.
UPDATE: I actually did this on 11/15/12, when my Prime membership expired. Here's a few things I found out:
- When you go into your account to add your four friends, there will be a drop-down that will ask you what your relationship is to them, and it will only list family relationships (parent, child, sibling, spouse, etc.). This does not jive with what it says in the help file about being able to add co-workers, who are friends and presumably not related to you. I called Amazon because I wanted to make sure what I was doing was "kosher," legal, above-board and okay with them. If it wasn't, I would not have done it (stealing is stealing). The customer service representative double-checked with her supervisor and told me it was fine. I could put my friends down as being any type of relative I wanted (I put them down as "brother/sister"); the Amazon screens needed updating and this "relationship" status was unimportant.
- You will also need to know the birthday (only the month/date) of each person that you're adding to your account and they will need to know yours (only the month/date).
- Once you add them and their birthday to your account, they will receive an email from Amazon asking them to confirm their birthday and yours, and that's it! Done! They now have the two-day free shipping benefit in their account.
- You cannot share other benefits, like the Kindle library or Video on Demand. None of my friends cared about those anyway; they only wanted the free shipping. I have a Kindle, so I actually like keeping that benefit.
- Payment has to be handled off the grid. I paid the $79 to Amazon and my four friends are each just sending me a check for $15.80 ($79 split five ways).
Any other thoughts on sharing your Prime membership? Some of you have asked me privately if this is "really okay" with Amazon. It is. They spell it out pretty clearly in their Help file, and I have verbal confirmation via my phone call to them that this perfectly kosher. I would NOT have done it nor posted it if it weren't. This blog is all about saving money, not stealing money. :)