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​Amazon drops Prime to $67, but there's a catch

If you're interested in signing up for Prime, today's a good day to do it, given that Amazon (AMZN) is dropping the price to $67 compared with its regular annual $99 fee. But there are a few catches to the offer, which are angering some longstanding customers.

Amazon is lowering the price on its Prime membership in honor of the five Emmys it won for its original series "Transparent" in the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards. One of the catches is that the offer is only for new members, which is angering some long-term Prime customers who are stuck with their $99 annual fees. The promotional offer highlights the danger of turning off existing customers in favor of luring new people into the fold.

"I will not be renewing my Prime Membership next time as I think it's unfair that 'new' members are being offered a $67 membership to celebrate Amazon's Emmy wins," one customer wrote on an Amazon forum. "Who do you think is watching these shows now ? New members? No . . .Who is getting the high ratings for Amazon for these shows? New members? No. Apparently those of us who have been Prime members since the inception don't matter anymore."

It's not the first time that Amazon has offered a one-day sale. The company previously offered a one-day sale in January to celebrate "Transparent" winning two Golden Globes. But since then, Prime membership has only grown more popular, providing more current customers whose feelings -- and wallets -- may feel dissed by these one-day promotions for new customers. One analyst estimates that the company now has as many as 50 million subscribers in the U.S., compared with between 30 million to 40 million last year.

Amazon didn't immediately return a request for comment.

There are some other details in the fine print that consumers should take note of. Amazon notes that new customers who sign up today for the $67 offer will be charged $99 when the service renews in a year. The offer is also only available through 11:59 p.m. PT on Sept. 25, or 2:59 a.m. ET on Sept. 26th.

Before signing up, consumers should be aware of the statistics on how Prime members spend compared with those without the service. Prime members spend about $1,500 on average each year, compared with $625 per year for Amazon customers without it, according to a report issued earlier this year from market research company Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. It could be that Prime customers have more money to spend in the first place, or that the lure of free two-day shipping encourages them to open their wallets.

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