Amazon is raising the price of its Prime membership program in the US

Flickr via Amazon Prime. Click for original. (Image credit: Flickr via Amazon Prime)

During a recent earnings call, Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky said that Amazon Prime membership fees are getting ready to increase in the US. Starting on May 11, the cost of an annual membership will increase to $119 per year, up from $99 currently.

It will be just the second time that Amazon has raised the price of its Prime membership, this time by 20 percent, matching in dollar amount the $20 increase to $99 in 2014. Amazon Prime launched in 2005 for $79.

"Since we increased the annual price of Prime four years ago both the value of Prime and the cost to offer it have increased significantly," Amazon told TechCrunch.

What started off as a program that was primarily focused on free two-day shipping for qualifying items has expanded over the years to include a host of perks, like unlimited photo storage, access to streaming videos and music, and more.

There are perks for gamers, too. These are mostly tied to Twitch, which Amazon acquired in 2014 for $970 million. Amazon Prime members who link their subscriptions to a Twitch account benefit from ad-free viewing, a free Twitch channel subscription every month, exclusive access to free game content, and discounts on physical game preorders and new releases.

The annual price hike follows price increases for the monthly version of Amazon Prime that went into effect last January. A monthly subscription now runs $12.99 per month, up from $10.99 before then. Even at $119 for an annual subscription, it's still a better deal compared to paying on a month-to-month basis, which works out to around $156 per year.

Olsavsky didn't talk about the student discount that Amazon offers, though we assume it will continue to offer a 50 percent discount on top of a free six-month trial. That means students would be looking at $60 for an annual membership in the US, up from $50.

New subscribers will be the first to see the higher annual subscription price. For existing Prime members, renewals will go up in price starting a month later, on June 16.

Any thoughts on the new price? Will this discourage you from signing up or renewing?

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).