Amazon made headlines a couple weeks ago by announcing its first-ever price increase for Amazon Prime: a one-year subscription now costs $99, up from the original $79 rate.
If you’ve been on the fence about getting or keeping a subscription, perhaps this nudged you toward the “no” side. But I think Amazon Prime remains a solid deal, and it gets even better when you consider this little-known fact: multiple family members can share a subscription.
Take my wife (please! No, just kidding, give her back). We have separate Amazon accounts because, well, married couples don’t need to share everything. If I want to order her a birthday gift, that’s my personal business. And vice-versa. (iPad Mini with Retina, honey!)
Amazon has always been kind of stingy about sharing. If I buy a book for my Kindle, for example, I can’t share it with the missus. She literally has to buy her own copy or temporarily sign into my Amazon account on her Kindle. (A smattering of Kindle books can be “loaned” to others, but precious few publishers allow this.)
Likewise, I can’t share digital movie or TV purchases, and although the MP3s I buy from Amazon aren’t copy-protected, there’s no outright “sharing” option available.
But, surprise, surprise, Amazon Prime can be shared, or at least one key benefit of it: free two-day shipping. That means my wife can take advantage of Prime shipping when she orders me that Pebble Smartwatch. (Black version, please.)
And if my wonderful mother-in-law ever comes to live with us, we can bring her into the fold as well: an Amazon Prime subscription can be shared with up to four household members.
Now, here’s where it gets interesting: “household.” To add someone to your account, you pull up Amazon, sign in, head to Your Account settings, and then click Manage Prime Membership. Scroll down a bit and you’ll see Invite a Household Member.
When you click that option, you’ll see fields for entering the person’s name, relationship to you, e-mail address, and birthday. But there’s nothing about mailing address, which begs the question: Could you share a Prime account with a family member not living with you?
I didn’t spot anything in Amazon’s Terms of Service requiring the same physical address, so it might be possible to allow, say, my sister to enjoy Prime–even though she lives a couple towns over. And a Lifehacker post (dating back to 2012) suggests that Amazon plays pretty loose with the term “household,” so this may well be possible.
Before you start asking far-flung relatives to pony up for their share, however, keep in mind the only Prime benefit you can share is shipping. Video streaming: out. Lending library: out.
That’s a bummer, though not necessarily a surprise. But Prime two-day shipping is a seriously awesome perk, and the option to share it adds a bit more value to an already great service.
Your thoughts on Prime? Is it still a good deal at $99? If not, how could Amazon sweeten it?
Photo credit: Amazon