Jul 27, 2020

Why Amazon Prime Is Worth It In 2020

ExtremeSavingsCanada talks about coupons and savings available in Canada. We publish links to coupons and discounts available in the country. We also tend to cover services and products that can help save hundreds of dollars annually. 

This time around, let's talk about a service that has become indispensable for many of us - Amazon Prime. We have been using this service for a year and we would like to share our experience here. At the end of the article we'll do a little summary that will answer the question if Amazon Prime is worth bothering in 2020.


What is Amazon?


For those who don't know what Amazon is (which is almost impossible not to have heard of Amazon as a company in 2020), we'll provide a quick explanation.

Amazon is an American company that had started out as an online bookstore more than 20 years ago. After 20+ years in business, Amazon is a huge corporation active in all things e-commerce. Amazon is no longer a site that sells books online only, it is more of a platform for other companies to sell their products globally.

Amazon is also a leader in digital cloud and server hosting services. Just to let you know that all Netflix movies are hosted on Amazon these days. 

In Canada, Amazon is represented by Amazon Canada, which is an entity that responds to the parent company in the United States.

What is Amazon Prime?


Let's now talk about Amazon Prime. Prime is Amazon's loyalty program. It's very similar to the Costco membership program. You pay an annual fee and have access to membership benefits. A rebate on your spend or the famous cashback is actually a benefit. Here is an example about the Costco member cards.

Amazon does not offer direct discounts as cashback or anything similar. Instead, Amazon offers a lot of additional services that keep the user loyal for a long time.

Currently, the Amazon Prime subscription price is $ 7.99 per month or $ 79 per year (if paid in full) in Canadian dollars. If you pay $ 79 + tx, the cost per month comes up to under $ 7 per month.

Quebec is a small exception. In Quebec, Prime users don't get a free month like in the rest of Canada. Quebecer just pay the first monthly fee of $ 7.99 + tx and get two months, which is $ 4 + tx per month. Virtually, it's the same that the rest of Canada gets.

The Prime membership price is not that high. It's even less than Costco. 

Let's continue with what we get with Amazon Prime.

Amazon Prime Benefits


There are 5 things your Amazon membership gives you in 2020. We also share our experience with each of these 5 perks.

1 - Shipping is free on almost 85-90% of all merchandise sold on Amazon.ca. Amazon promises free 2-day delivery in Canada. The promise is valid for the major cities. The promise works well for Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal.

Amazon works with small independent shipping companies. These people are polite and do their jobs well.

To gain access to free shipping, you must look at the Prime sign near products while searching on Amazon.ca. In addition, Amazon offers to filter products by Prime vs Non-prime.

2 - Prime Video. With your Prime subscription you have access to the Prime Video service - this is Netflix's number one competitor.

Our opinion: this is a good video streaming service. But their movie library is a bit limited if you compare with Netflix. We like Prime because there are a lot of films from the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, even 2000s. 

The only caveat is that Amazon doesn't open all movies for Prime members. We do see some pay-per-view movies on Prime video.

Additionally, we found that Global TV is now available on Amazon Prime. It includes the Global country-wide channel as well as local stations like BC, Toronto, Montreal.

3 - Music. Amazon promises unlimited music. It’s not 100% true, though. The music is there, but some albums are payable or not available with Prime. You have to subscribe for another $ 8 + tx per month. Well, we are happy with what we get on Amazon Music - it allowed to switch off from Spotify and save $15 monthly.

4 - Reading. Yes, the Kindle e-reader purchased in 2013 still works, and the Prime membership allows to add books and read them on a few devices. We just install the app on the tablet and phone and everything is synchronized with the old Kindle. 

We also found a way to add books to Amazon Kindle (device and apps) without paying for new books all the time. Here are some quick steps to do so:

a - Get your Kindle email. Yes, your Kindle (or reading account) has an individual email.

b - Find books in .epub format on specialized book portals - there are plenty of these.

c - Use the free Caliber desktop program to convert your books to .epub or other format in .mobi format, which is the Kindle ebook format.

d - Send the converted books as attachments from your personal email to your Kindle email.

If you already have ebooks in .mobi format, skip and go to step d directly.

5 - Photo hosting. This is a useful option. You can add photos to your Amazon account and keep them there forever.We decided not to do that yet. So no opinion here.

Amazon Prime, is it worth it in 2020?


Before giving our verdict, let's go through some observations.

  • The prices on Amazon Canada are not always the lowest on the market. Sometimes it feels like the price of free shipping is added to the final price of the product. This is clearly visible when it comes to lesser-known brands or expensive products, like furniture or appliances.
  • However, products like cosmetics, home products, papers, toys, rugs are cheaper than elsewhere. We used to buy from Well.ca, but we switched to Amazon as the same products are cheaper on Amazon.
  • After the first three months of using Prime, we started to compare prices on the same products across multiple sites to see if Amazon was paying a good price. With free shipping, some purchases on Amazon Canada were real bargains.
  • Even though Amazon is known for its fairly low prices, you have to compare prices all the time and do mental calculations. In addition, Amazon has a lot of unknown brands and sellers - buying a "lemon" is very possible. Fortunately, the return policy is easy and efficient.
  • Another observation: with the Prime subscription you feel like you have to buy more on Amazon. This is a problem because your expenses can pile up quickly. 


Our Verdict


In our case, we're going to keep our Amazon Prime membership in 2020 and 2021. We usually pay the full annual fee. Free shipping and product choice on Amazon.ca, the Video and Music services are great value for our family. We make a number of small purchases a month, watch a lot of movies and listen to a lot of music on Amazon. Worth it for us!

We are even ready to pay up to $ 100 per year with taxes. When the amount exceeds this threshold in the future, we would rethink our approach.

Here are some great buys on Amazon Canada based on our research: