Watch CBS News

Is Amazon Prime still worth it? All the pros and cons

Prime Video

Amazon's first-ever Big Spring Sale is on, from now until Monday, March 25. The retail giant marked down prices on seasonal spring items across various departments, ranging from fashion to spring cleaning essentials. There are discounts on Amazon Alexa devices too, such as the Echo

Although this sale is open to all shoppers, Amazon Prime members will be able to score some exclusive discounts. They'll also be entitled to the retailer's famous fast and free shipping. If you aren't a Prime member but are considering getting a membership for the chance to save more on spring essentials, we broke down all the pros and cons to help you make a more informed decision. Read on to see all of what's included in an Amazon Prime membership, including access to Prime Video, grocery delivery at Whole Foods and more. 

Is Amazon Prime still worth paying for? 

Yes -- in most cases, the net benefits outweigh the cost. If you're still not sure, we've broken down the biggest benefits below, and how often you'll need to use them to make the monthly cost worth your while.

Free shipping and fast delivery 

Amazon Prime Big Deals Day

If you order products from Amazon multiple times per month, that alone is worth keeping your Prime membership. The only other way you can get free shipping on Amazon is if your orders total more than $35. Otherwise, you have to pay $6.99 for standard shipping (prices by zip code may vary). 

Conversely, if you place three orders per month at less than $35 per order, the cost of shipping without Prime ($6.99 base) amounts to more than the monthly cost of Prime with ad-free Prime Video ($17.98). 

Even if your monthly orders equate to more than $35 (qualifying for free shipping without Prime), the one-, two-, and even same-day delivery you get with Prime is worth it. You won't find faster shipping times with most other retailers. 

The upshot: If you rely on Amazon often for everyday buys or bargainssuch as discounted household essentials, or if you just love the convenience of getting your orders fast, keep Prime.

Grocery delivery with Whole Foods

Amazon owns Whole Foods, so your Prime membership includes perks that can be used at the grocery chain. Prime offers you some discounts at the store, but the main draw is grocery delivery. You can only do Whole Foods grocery delivery if you have a Prime account. If Whole Foods is your go-to grocery store, and you do grocery delivery often, especially weekly, your Amazon Prime account is worth it. 

Prescription benefits

Amazon's Rx Pass allows you to get select medications for a flat fee of $5 per month. With Prime, you also can get two-day free shipping for prescriptions bought through Amazon Pharmacy, which beats having to wait in line at the IRL pharmacy for 20 minutes. Plus, with Prime, you can compare prescription prices between more than 60,000 pharmacies, which may save you up to 80% off on your medication. If you rely on these kind of discounts to save on pricier prescriptions, it is worth it to keep Amazon Prime. 

Prime Day deals

If you shop Amazon's Prime Days every year, keep your membership. Prime Day's discounts are exclusive to Prime members. This is Amazon's biggest sales event, ensuring some of the best discounts the site advertises all year. Not only that, but Prime members get exclusive discounts daily on the site, as well as 30-minute early access to Lightning Deals (these deals can last between 30 minutes to an entire day). The amount of money you save on these deals could easily equal to (or exceed) the cost of your monthly Amazon Prime membership. 

Prime Day 2024 has yet to be announced, but based on previous years' timing, we expect it to happen sometime in mid-July 2024.

Is Prime Video still worth it? 

Prime Video

We think yes. If you didn't know, Prime Video now includes ads, and the only way to opt out of (most) commercials is by paying an additional $2.99 fee per month. Opting to pay the extra fee would bring Amazon Prime to nearly $12 per month. Although any price increase is inconvenient, we think paying the extra fee may be worth it for some users. 

Prime Video members get access to tens of thousands of movies and TV shows, including popular Amazon Originals TV shows, such as "The Summer I Turned Pretty" as well as the Emmy-winning "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" and "Fleabag". You can also stream Oscar-nominated movies, including "Manchester By The Sea" and "Sound Of Metal"

Plus, compared to other popular streaming services with ad-free options, including Netflix (from $15.49 to $22.99 per month) and Hulu ($17.99 per month), Prime Video without ads ($11.98) is still the cheapest. 

If you want to go ad-free, you can make that change within the account settings of your Prime Account or the Prime Video app found on Fire TVs, smart TVs, game consoles and set-top boxes. Ad-free, however, doesn't include trailers that run before a movie or TV show (you can skip them), nor does it exclude ads from live events, including sports, whatever you're watching on Amazon Freevee, or a third-party streaming service that you add to your Amazon account (that isn't an ad-free subscription). 

Amazon hasn't outlined on their site exactly how many ads you can expect if you opt out of ad-free, but they said you can expect them before and during playback. The Wall Street Journal reports the average ad load per hour is expected to be between two and three-and-half minutes.

If you're vehemently against ads and someone who uses their Prime Video weekly to find movies and TV shows to watch, it's worth it to keep the streaming service and upgrade to ad-free. But if the extra $2.99 for Prime Video Ad Free will set you back -- which is understandable if you subscribe to multiple streaming services that can cost upwards of $45 or more monthly -- consider keeping the streaming services with ads and see how you adjust. 

People who only access Prime Video one or two times per month may find that they can live without it. If there's a specific series or some movies you want to watch on Prime, you can always get the streaming service to watch it and then cancel afterward.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.