ttp86 was also able to verify that via chat. A CSR specifically verified that you can buy five gift memberships for yourself and redeem them over 5 years. His full transcript can be found here. please rep him if you find it useful.
Didn't see this posted and while this isn't a hot deal I thought many people here would be interested as many of us rely on Amazon Prime for many Amazon deals.
Might be a good idea to renew your membership before 4/17 to take advantage of the current rates.
Additional details with the 4/17 date:
If your membership expires after 4/17 and you want another year at the current price, buy a gift membership and set it to send the day after your current one expires. More details here
Please rep orick for this tip!
Edit: an interesting article on the reasons behind this . I find the profit margin graph amazing. I knew Amazon wasn't making a lot of money, I didn't know they practically just break even!
Edit: Time Magazine mentioned this thread! Thanks AlwayzJ for the reference.