Jeff Bezos

Amazon co-founder and former CEO Jeff Bezos. Alex Wong / Getty Images

  • It turns out that Amazon Prime is not necessary, even if you frequently order from Amazon.

  • I canceled my subscription in May 2020 and it had no impact on order speed or prices.

  • On the plus side, I’m saving at least $ 120 a year on expensive membership fees.

  • Visit Insider’s Business section for more stories.

In April 2020, just as pandemic lockdowns were taking effect in New York City, I canceled the Amazon Prime membership that my wife and I had shared.

In the year since this subscription ended, I haven’t missed it once – and we’re saving $ 130 per year plus tax by not paying for the service.

Video: 9 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Amazon

We are by no means anti-Amazon crusaders: this year, so far, I have placed 15 separate orders for products delivered through Amazon. Last year the total was 20 orders.

How much were my shipping costs for all these orders? A grand total of $ 17.57 for 2020 and a whopping $ 12.26 in 2021 so far.

This includes two air conditioners (with free shipping), two large Tommy Bahama beach chairs (again, free shipping), and a variety of freebies sent to a relatively isolated town in Pennsylvania.

Email from Amazon after canceling Amazon Prime subscription.

In the email confirming my Amazon Prime cancellation, there is a huge button to join Amazon Prime, naturally. Ben Gilbert / Insider

While it is true that some of these items we purchased would have received a slight discount through Prime, or some would have been delivered the next day (rather than two or three days later), it is extremely unlikely that these discounts add up to the difference of over $ 100 between what we pay for delivery now and what we pay for a Prime membership.

Plus, even without a Prime subscription, most of the items we buy through Amazon deliver amazingly fast.

Living in Brooklyn, not too far from a large Amazon fulfillment center on Staten Island, sure doesn’t hurt! But I have had equally positive experiences sending gifts through Amazon to my family in Pennsylvania and Ohio, where packages arrived several days ahead of scheduled arrival times.

But what about Prime Video? Frankly we weren’t using it and we are already paying for Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Max. I can name specific reasons for these subscriptions – shows, movies, or entire libraries that justify the current subscription fee. With rare exceptions, that didn’t happen with Prime Video for us.

More often than not, the video we wanted to watch on Prime Video still required a rental fee. This happened enough times that we completely stopped activating the service.

My context is not everyone’s context, of course. My wife and I don’t have children, we live in a big city and we own a car. Frankly, there weren’t many good reasons for us to pay for Amazon Prime specifically.

Do we really need Frankie’s Spuntino cookbook delivered the next day, or is it okay if we wait a few days? I think we will survive.

But maybe you’re a new parent and need diapers tomorrow, no matter what? Or do you have a job that prevents you from shopping during regular business hours? Or any number of perfectly reasonable situations? I understand!

The calculation here is more than strictly financial, and the decision depends on a lot of things. For $ 120 a year, however? It is a decision that deserves reflection.

Do you have any advice? Contact Insider Senior Correspondent Ben Gilbert by email ( or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We may keep the sources anonymous. Use an unprofessional device to reach out. RP pitches by email only, please.

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