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Avoid Amazon's price hike with this one simple trick

Amazon Prime deliveries sitting outside a door
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Update February 18: The cost of gifting a Prime membership has increased to $139/year.  

Like it or not, the cost of Amazon Prime is about to increase. Starting February 18, new members will pay $139 per year to join, which is a $20 increase from the current price. Current members — such as myself — will pay the new price after March 25, on the date of their next renewal. (Unless you decide to cancel).

It's worth noting that the cost of Prime Student will also increase on the same dates for new and existing members. The new prices will be $69 per year ($10 increase) or $7.49 per month ($1 increase). Although Amazon will continue to offer a discounted membership option for customers receiving government assistance, the monthly price for that membership will also increase from $5.99 to $6.99 per month for qualifying customers.

If you'd like to keep all of your Amazon Prime member benefits without paying the new price, there's one small trick you can do right now to lock in another year of Prime at $119. Amazon lets current subscribers gift Prime memberships to anyone — including yourself. So earlier this week I purchased a $119 Prime membership at Amazon which I gifted to myself. 

Give the gift of Prime membership: $119 for one year @ Amazon

Give the gift of Prime membership: $119 for one year @ Amazon
Want to avoid the Prime member price hike? Current Prime members can purchase one year of Amazon Prime for $119 and manually apply the gifted membership before their current membership ends. That will lock in another year of Prime membership for $119. 

To gift it to yourself, simply enter your own e-mail when filling out the "recipient's e-mail" field on the Amazon checkout page. (Make sure to use the same e-mail you currently use for your Prime membership. That should keep all of your Amazon Prime history in tact).

Once you've entered an e-mail, just choose a "delivery date" for the e-mail (I set it to send ASAP) and continue your purchase as you would any regular purchase on Amazon. Roughly five to ten minutes after gifting myself a membership, I got my Amazon receipt and my "gifted" subscription via e-mail.

Amazon Prime gift screenshot

(Image credit: Amazon)

My Prime membership ends February 9, 2023. So on February 8, 2023 — I will manually cancel my current Prime membership. (Here's how to cancel Amazon Prime). This will prevent Amazon from auto-renewing my membership at the new $139/year rate). After I receive confirmation that my membership is terminated, I'll whip out my "gifted" Prime membership and claim it. (The detailed instructions on how to do this are in the confirmation e-mail Amazon sends you).

The downside is you need to pay upfront for your gifted membership. Nevertheless, it'll give me one more year of Amazon Prime for $119.

A few things to note. The price of Prime will increase on February 18 for new members. It's unclear if the price of a gifted membership will also increase on the same date. (I'm assuming it will). So I recommend you gift yourself that Prime membership before this Friday.

Additionally, you must remember to cancel your current membership a day before it's set to expire. You don't want Amazon to auto-renew you at the higher rate. Lastly, there's nothing stopping you from gifting yourself more than one Prime membership. The downside is you'll need to pay for everything upfront.

If you're wondering whether this works — it absolutely does. I did this trick back in 2018 during the last Prime member price increase. I frequently shop at Amazon and I didn't want to loose access to Prime Day deals, which are exclusively for Prime members only. 

Alternatively, new members interested in Prime can sign up for a free 30-day Prime trial and lock in the $119/year rate before February 18.

As deals editor at Tom’s Guide, Louis is constantly looking for ways to avoid paying full price for the latest gadgets. With over 10 years of deals-hunting experience, Louis price checks against multiple retailers and searches high and low for the best deals to bring readers. A born-and-bred New Yorker, Louis is also an avid swimmer and marathoner. His work has appeared on Gizmodo, CNET, and Time Out New York.