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Jan 19, 2018

Amazon raising Prime monthly membership costs in U.S. by nearly 20%

Amazon's Prime logo at Lehigh Valley International Airport in Pennsylvania, U.S. Dec. 20, 2016.

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NEW YORK -- Amazon is raising the price of its Prime membership monthly plan by nearly 20 per cent in the U.S. The fee of US$99 for an annual membership will not change, the company said Friday.

Amazon told BNN the changes won't affect Canadians.

The online retailer had added the monthly payment option about two years ago as a way to hook shoppers -- especially during the holiday season -- who wanted faster free shipping, but didn't want to commit to an annual fee. The Seattle-based company does not disclose how many Prime members it has.

Besides free two-day shipping, Prime members get other perks, such as access to Amazon's video and music streaming services.

Starting Friday, new monthly members will pay US$12.99 a month, up from US$10.99. Qualifying college students will pay US$6.49 a month, up from US$5.49. Amazon.com Inc. said existing monthly members will start paying the higher fees next month. 

Amazon said its US$5.99-a-month Prime membership for low-income people who receive government assistance is not affected by the price increase. Amazon launched the discounted Prime membership last year for people who have a valid Electronic Benefits Transfer card.

-- With files from BNN