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Amazon Changes Rules Around Sharing Prime Membership Benefits

The number of people you can share your Prime membership with just dropped from four people to one person and Slickdealers aren't happy about it.
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Amazon changed the number of people who can share one Prime account from five people to two late last week, spurring quite a heated discussion in our forums over the weekend.

We started hearing some rumblings in our community on Friday that Amazon had changed who and how many people you could share your Prime membership benefits with, meanwhile on Amazon there was no announcement showing any updates to their terms. However, it turns out the sharing options did in fact change, Amazon just did it quietly and made no announcement of it at all. Prime Sharing basically just became Amazon Household, and it's a drastic change for many people.

You used to be able to share your Prime account with four other people in the same household, but now it's been limited to one adult and up to four children. The two adults would need to share the credit/debit cards on file with each other, which won't be a big issue for people who share their accounts with an immediate family member. If you were sharing it with a friend or someone else you wouldn't necessarily want to have free access to your virtual wallet, they're going to have to sign up for their own accounts now.

Here's how the Prime sharing benefits work since the update to the terms:

  • Prime members can now only share their account with one other adult. Up to four children can be added as well, but you're not going to be able to call uncle Charlie one of your kids, so no loophole there.
  • If you have a Prime Student account or you're an invited guest of another Prime member, you can't share your Prime benefits.
  • You can share shipping benefits, instant video (streaming), Amazon Mom benefits, Kindle Owners lending library, Prime Exclusive Deals and Prime Early Access. Amazon Music is not included.

If you're currently sharing your Prime benefits with someone who does not qualify under the new terms, so far it looks like they are not being dropped by Amazon. However, if you remove someone you will not be able to add them back. Most likely the additional members will be dropped once a Prime account is up for renewal if the owner of the account doesn't do it before then.

Amazon Household is not a new program, it's been around for almost a year and it allowed users to start sharing their purchased digital goods, like audio books and apps, with family members. The difference now is that they're folding the shipping benefits into it and essentially eliminating Prime Sharing.

So what does the Slickdeals community think?

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What do you think about these changes? A long time coming or completely out of the blue? Does this change influence your decision when it comes time to renew your Prime membership next time?



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About the Author

Johan Mengesha is the Editorial Director at Slickdeals in Los Angeles, Calif. Mengesha has written for print and online media outlets since 2003 and has a journalism degree from Cal State Northridge. Published work has appeared in the "Los Angeles Daily News," the "Daily Sundial" and eHow.com.

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27 Comments

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This comment has been rated as unhelpful by Slickdeals users
Joined Aug 2004
Slickdeals Admin
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#2
This is basically just a money grab, they probably did an analysis and saw how many people shared accounts and weren't actually living in the same household...

But still pretty lame Amazon.
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Joined Aug 2011
The Level of Perception
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#3
Here is my case. I live outside USA and we usually use freight forward companies to bring the merchandise from the states to out country, even with that charge added it's cheaper than buy it locally or I can access a broader option, so what we do with Prime its share the benefits between 5 friends so everyone enjoy the fast shipment, obviously the other benefits aren't available here because the restrictions like amazon video.

With these changes in place, forget about renewal and that means forget about making many purchases. And I can tell you, here in Dominican republic this its no an isolate example, this is like out only option.

Sadly Amazon isn't seing the whole picture and of course I understand that I'm not supposed to be their client but still I'm and a lot of people in Latin America too.
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Last edited by Nehemoth August 3, 2015 at 01:22 PM.
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Joined Sep 2007
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Our community has rated this post as helpful. If you agree, why not rep RugerRedhawk?
#4
Honestly they were incredibly lax about who you shared your accounts with in the past, not surprising at all to see this. For me, honestly it will be nice that my wife can have her own amazon prime music account now.
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Joined Aug 2008
L5: Journeyman
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#5
This will be my last year with Amazon prime.
I don't use it often enough to pay the annual fee, it only worked out when i shared it.
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Joined May 2014
L5: Journeyman
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#6
They didn't make enough money with Prime Garage Sale they're so now they're trying to force more subs with limitations.
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Joined Apr 2011
Manipulator of Strings
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#7
We have 5 people living here. Four of those 5 have their own cards, and I was considering 'prime' for us this year. At least I know what I'm not wasting $100 on now. GG Amazon, you even broke the 'household' part of your gimmick.
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Joined Aug 2006
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#8
I don't mind it, haha, I'm the Prime account owner and I'm paying it all myself. I also "abused" it, but kept it close to me.
You cannot blame Amazon for doing this, they need to make their money.
I've actually expected something like this all the long - that is, with more and more people joining Prime, Amazon will certainly feel the weight of pushing and shipping products out in 2days. Their first move was to increase the minimum purchase from $25 to $35 to help offload the 2day shipping benefits to Prime only.
Then came that stupid "add-on" feature for items too cheap to ship.

Though of course you can argue that all of these changes aren't due to production constraints, rather more for profit/money-making.
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Joined Apr 2015
L5: Journeyman
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#9
It's becoming less and less of a deal as time goes on. I already refuse to pay full price for a membership and just usually let it lapse until a discount comes along. During that time, my Amazon ordering goes way down and looking for a better deal rather than convenience becomes a priority.
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Joined Mar 2008
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#10
I'm sure Amazon did analytics on this and found that some very high number of households use Prime as a single member of the household and there was some small number of people who had five different names with a single account.
Typically these small number of users who stretch the limits cost companies a ton of money and companies have to operate at a loss to support them. i.e. Think of unlimited data cell plans. 95% of the people used their 1-4GB a month and then there were the 2% who starting streaming movies on cellular and using 20GB+ a month.
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Joined Nov 2007
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#11
I'm imagining workarounds to this.

If you're friends or even family with neighbors, I could see people teaming up to pay for a single Prime account and using one person as the middle man. For every order they'd either give the account holder cash or even funnel the money to then via PayPal. The account holder orders the item and then two days later the neighbor picks up the package. If there's trust there it could work great. It really only works for physical orders though...not so much on streaming services.
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#12
Oops,at first, the number of people you can share your Prime membership is 5, but now .....
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Joined May 2014
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#13
The fact they would even do shared Prime is surprising. I would think one prime per account would be normal.
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Joined May 2004
L7: Teacher
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#14
Amazon used to be my absolute favorite online merchant, but they've really gone down the toilet over the past few years. I went from having a Prime membership and ordering from Amazon on a weekly basis to having no Prime membership and ordering two or three times a year now.

They started their descent by making a lot of the products I buy Add-On items, which made my Prime membership nearly worthless. Then they started charging sales tax, which made their prices worse than eBay's. Then they upped the price of Prime and upped the non-Prime free shipping and Add-On item threshold to $35.

So, now I do most of my online shopping at eBay. The prices and shipping times on eBay have gotten almost as good as Amazon's during its heyday.
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Joined Apr 2010
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#15
No more Prime for this household and we will be cutting way way back now on our Amazon purchases.

Also felt the sneaky way they did it with out notifying it's paying subscribers who paid almost double what they had paid for Prime in the past was a very poor business practice.

Amazon saw better days anyways before Add On Only Item and their other tactics to charge more and try to hide doing so tactics.

Shame on you Amazon Mad hope you generously direct some of your millions in profits to saving the real Amazon
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