4 Ways to Avoid Paying $99 for Amazon Prime Free Shipping

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In 2014, Amazon Prime got a price hike from $79 to $99 per year. It was the first for Amazon Prime in the program's nine-year history, and the online retail giant said the increase was necessary to offset the fuel and transportation costs needed to deliver millions of items in two days, for free.

Since its launch, though, the company has added a number of perks to Amazon Prime in addition to free, two-day shipping, like Amazon Video streaming, Amazon Music Unlimited, Prime Reading, and Amazon Prime Photos. If you're a regular Amazon user, Prime is still a pretty good deal.

But perhaps you're on a budget and are looking for ways to pay less than $99 for Amazon Prime free shipping. Here are some options.

1. Join Amazon Student
Students still get a discounted Amazon Prime rate when they join Amazon Student. To qualify as a student, you'll need a .edu email adress. But once you sign up, you'll get Amazon Prime for six months free and at $49 per year after that. Amazon Prime Music access doesn't kick in until after the six-month free trial, though.

2. Use the Always Free Super Saving Shipping
If free shipping is your game, Amazon offers free shipping on orders of $35 or more; that drops to $25 when it comes to book orders. With millions of items, it's not hard to rack up enough items to hit the $35 mark – which is well below the average free shipping requirement online. Worst case, buy something to get the free shipping and simply return it upon arrival.


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3. Get a Subscribe & Save Membership
Shoppers who tend to buy the same things should look into a Subscribe & Save Membership. Although it does not cover everything on the site, members can save up to 15 percent on orders and receive free shipping on every Subscribe & Save order. Members must select eligible items, and choose a delivery schedule to subscribe. While it's not as expansive as an Amazon Prime Membership, it is convenient and worth a look.

4. Get A Credit Card with Prime as a Perk
Credit card companies such as American Express often offer Amazon Prime as a free perk for new members. Be sure to read the fine print for spending minimums, however.

Alternatively, you can always find other ways to get free shipping on the Web. FreeShipping.org has a continually updated database of thousands of free shipping coupon codes for a massive number of online stores. Browser add-ons such as PriceBlink.com, Coupons at Checkout, InvisibleHand and Honey will find coupon codes and discounts, many for free shipping, at thousands of online stores.

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