Amazon Prime is the most popular online shopping subscription service available today.
It’s estimated that three out of every five American households subscribe to Amazon Prime, and for good reason.
Besides all of the other features of Amazon Prime such as Prime Video, Prime Reading, and Whole Foods discounts, you can save a lot of money on shipping costs. If you order from Amazon frequently enough, the free two-day shipping alone is worth the price.
At the same time, Amazon Prime isn’t cheap. A yearly membership costs $119, or you can pay a recurring monthly fee of $12.99.
There aren’t a ton of ways that you can nix this cost, but there are a few if you’re crafty and willing to put in some work.
How to Get a Free Amazon Prime Membership
You may be able to get free Amazon Prime for a short period of time. Even if it’s not permanent, a few months of free Amazon Prime puts a little bit of money back into your budget.
1. Sign up for a 30-Day Amazon Prime Free Trial
Anyone can get a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime if you’re not already signed up for it. You can only qualify for one free trial with your account, however, so use it well.
When you register for your free trial, you’ll receive access to most of Amazon’s features including free two-day shipping, Prime Video, Prime Music, and access to the Kindle Lending Library. Try to use all of the services available to you so you can really get a feel for how they work and if they provide content you want and will realistically use.
Remember to add a “cancel Amazon membership” reminder to your calendar in 30 days. This way, you’ll avoid getting charged if you don’t like Amazon Prime.
2. Join Amazon Student
If you’re a college student you can get a free trial membership of Amazon Prime Student for six months. After that you’ll pay half the normal price, meaning that it’ll cost you just $6.49 per month, or $59 per year. This membership lasts for up to four years, after which time your subscription will automatically be renewed for the regular full-price Amazon Prime membership.
You don’t necessarily need to sign up for free Amazon Prime for Students with your school email address, although you will need one in order for Amazon to verify that you are a student.
3. Get a Sprint Cell Phone Subscription
If you have a Sprint Unlimited Premium cell phone plan, you can get a free subscription to Amazon Prime provided by Sprint. If you have another type of Sprint plan you can still choose to get an Amazon Prime subscription. However, Sprint will charge you $12.99 per month, which is the normal price any other monthly Amazon Prime member pays.
This does allow you to bundle two of your bills together so you don’t have to worry about paying for Amazon Prime separately, but it’s a more expensive route. A $12.99 monthly fee will cost you $155.88 per year, which is $36.88 more per year than if you just pay for a yearly Amazon Prime membership on your own.
4. Sign up for a Metro by T-Mobile Phone Plan
If you sign up for Metro by T-Mobile’s Unlimited cell phone plan, you’ll automatically get a free subscription to Amazon Prime. At $60 per month for one phone line, that’s a pretty good deal.
— Metro by T-Mobile (@MetroByTMobile) November 16, 2017
After you sign up for the phone plan, Metro by T-Mobile will send you an activation code for your free Amazon Prime subscription. If you already are an Amazon Prime member, you’ll need to cancel your membership first and wait for it to expire, and then reactivate it with the code provided by MetroPCS.
5. Use Your Company’s Amazon Business Prime Account
Amazon Business Prime accounts don’t come with some of the regular Amazon Prime features, such as Prime Video, Prime Reading, and Amazon Fresh. But if all you need is free two-day shipping on your Amazon purchases it might be worth asking your employer if you can use their Amazon Business Prime account, provided they have one.
If you’re self-employed, you may be able to write off the Amazon Business Prime expense as a business cost. The smallest Amazon Business Prime account for up to three users costs $179 per year.
6. Get a Free Month of Prime if a Package is Late
This method isn’t guaranteed, but it can be worth a shot. If you already have an Amazon Prime account and a package you order arrives on your doorstep after its scheduled time, you can contact customer support and request compensation in the form of a free month of Amazon Prime.
If you’re courteous, descriptive, and persistent while talking to the customer support rep, you may be able to boost your chances of being successful. Make sure to describe how you’ve been a loyal Amazon Prime customer, and how your late package inconvenienced you.
If you don’t get a free month of Amazon Prime as compensation, you may at least get something else such as an Amazon gift card applied to your account or a refund on your order.
How to Get a Cheap Amazon Prime Membership
If you can’t get free Amazon Prime, you can try to get it for a reduced price.
1. Split the Cost with Friends
You might be sharing Netflix and Hulu logins with friends, but did you know that you can share the same Amazon account as well and ask friends to split the cost? You can actually have multiple addresses and credit cards on file so that each of you can pay for and have packages shipped to your own homes with free shipping.
Each person will need to add their own credit card number to the Amazon Wallet section of your account. Rest assured that once you enter it in, there’s no way that others can see your credit card number. They’ll only see the name on the card, expiration date, and last four digits.
Make sure that everyone remembers to use their own card and address when checking out. Otherwise you may inadvertently be charged for one of your friend’s purchases or receive a surprise package on your doorstep.
2. Sign up for Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card doesn’t offer a free Amazon Prime membership, but it does offer 5% cash back on all of your Amazon purchases. You’ll also get 2% cash back at restaurants, gas stations, and drug stores, and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
If you only used the card to earn cash back on your Amazon purchases, you’d have to spend $2,380 annually on Amazon to pay for an Amazon Prime Membership. That’s almost $200 per month, which might be above what you’re willing to spend.
Still, even if you use this card only to offset some of the cost of an Amazon Prime membership, it may be worth it. In addition to the cash-back bonuses, there’s no annual fee. Just make sure to pay the card off in full each month so you don’t have to pay interest on your balance.
Related: 9 Best Apps to Earn Cash Back on All Your Purchases
3. Check Your American Express Card
If you have an American Express card, you may be able to get Amazon Prime through a special promotion. American Express changes these offers periodically, so even if you don’t have a special offer for Amazon Prime membership now, you may find one in the future.
To see if this is currently available to you, simply log into your American Express account. Scroll down to the “Amex Offers and Benefits” section, where these special deals are detailed. Check the fine print to see if an offer for free or discounted Prime membership is available.
Generally these offers require you to purchase the membership with your American Express card, but the statement credit you receive makes it free.
A Free Amazon Prime Membership Requires Some Work
It is possible to get a free Amazon Prime membership, or at least get it for a reduced price. Still, it’s not entirely “free” since you’ll be trading in your time to cut the cost. At some point it may not be worth the work and easier to simply pay the annual fee.
Additionally, Amazon already offers a lot of free services. For example, you can get free standard shipping without a Prime membership if you purchase at least $25, and you can pay separately for Amazon Video.
But if you truly want a Prime membership but needing to pinch pennies, it is possible as long as you put in the effort.
Related: 25 Ways to Earn Free Amazon Gift Cards