Amazon Prime in Canada – Review of cost and perks

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The following is a review of Amazon Prime based on my personal experience of being a Prime Student member for 4 years, and a Prime member for the last few years.

In this review, I’ll summarize how valuable the service is in Canada and who stands to benefit most from it.

3.9/5
Cansumer rating

How much does an Amazon Prime membership cost in Canada?

Prime Membership

After a free 30 day trial, Amazon Prime Canada costs $9.99 per month for a total of $119.88 per year or $99 per year with the annual plan, which works out to $8.25 per month – savings of 17%.

Prime Student

If you’re a student, after a free 6 month trial, Amazon Prime Student costs $4.99 per month for a total of $59.88 per year or $49 per year with the annual plan, which works out to $4.08 per month – savings of 18%.

The cost of Amazon Prime was increased by 25% from $7.99 to $9.99 per month after May 13, 2022. The cost of Prime Student was increased by the same percentage from $3.99 to $4.99. These were the first price increases since the membership program was introduced to Canada in January 2013.

Note: Amazon requires your credit card information when signing up and will automatically charge your credit card at the end of the free trial to continue your subscription unless you log in to your account and cancel it.

In Quebec, where automatic charges after an initial free trial are not permitted, residents who sign up to a monthly or annual membership are not charged until after the first 30 days and students receive an initial 7-month membership for the price of $4.99, instead of a trial.

To put the cost into perspective, Netflix charges $120 a year and only offers video streaming.

Yes, while Prime Video’s catalog of 8,500+ titles is larger than Netflix’s 6,500+ according to JustWatch, it is in large part full of older, less popular titles, compared to Netflix’s newer and more popular options, but an annual subscription to Prime is $100 (after the price hike) and their streaming catalog is only one of the available benefits.

Review summary

If your online shopping is done primarily on Amazon and your orders are frequent, small, last-minute and/or as-needed (ie you ran out of toilet paper and need some tomorrow), or if you value convenience over all else, then I recommend Amazon Prime.

Now, if you plan your online purchases ahead of time and your orders are typically less frequent and larger value, then you might want to consider how much you would use the other benefits included. Amazon offers free shipping on orders over $35 of items that are Fulfilled by Amazon from their warehouses (not third-party sellers), so if you want to buy something, you can add it to your cart and leave it there until you reach the minimum.

If you watch a lot of content on online streaming services and like having all the new shows everyone is talking about at your fingertips, then I also recommend getting it.

However, if you only use Prime for faster delivery, you should pay attention to where their warehouses (“Fulfillment Centres“) are. Amazon has over 18 fulfillment centres across Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec, not to mention sortation centres, delivery stations and pickup points.

I tested cancelling Prime and while Amazon’s standard free shipping says it’ll take 3 to 5 days, I consistently got items much faster – in around 2 days – the same as they would if I still had Prime. That said, I live 2 hours from Toronto along the 401 corridor and I have not tested this during the Christmas shopping season, when it may not hold true.

You can also share your benefits with other household members. If you split the cost with a roommate, for example, you can effectively cut the cost down to under $50 a year and you can both watch Prime Video at the same time (Music, however, is limited to 1 stream at a time).

Our household shares a single subscription primarily for the fast shipping (particularly useful for sending last-minute Christmas and birthday gifts) and the included Prime Video streaming, which is our most-watched streaming service after Netflix.

Finally, you can also re-subscribe to Prime as needed – say when the new season of you favourite Amazon Original comes out and you want to binge it or you have to buy a bunch of Christmas presents, quickly. In my experience, a little over a month after cancelling, they offered me a week of Prime for $0.99 – some users report getting offered a month for the same price.

Each user will use and value the different services provided to varying degrees and they’re all included whether you use them or not, which makes it difficult to say who will benefit most.

Based on a survey of about 4,500 Amazon Prime members across Canada the main reasons they had an Amazon Prime membership were the convenience of fast shipping and Prime Video, Music and Gaming:

And the most-used benefits were Prime Video, shipping and Prime Music:

An Amazon Prime membership is worth it if:

  • You live in a rural area
  • You make frequent, small, last-minute orders from Amazon that you’ll need to use within the next 2 days
  • You spent more than $100 in shipping on your orders over the last year
  • You end up buying from Amazon more often than independent online retailers
  • You watch a fair amount of TV and movies and like having a large library at your fingertips
  • You always have music playing in the background

An Amazon Prime membership is probably NOT worth it if:

  • You live in an urban area near Amazon fulfillment and distribution centres
  • You plan your purchases ahead of time and can wait until your cart reaches $35
  • You spent very little on shipping on your orders over the last year
  • You end up buying from independent online retailers whenever possible, choosing them over Amazon
  • You won’t use one of the other benefits (Video, Music, etc.) at least semi-regularly
  • Convenience
  • Deals
  • Prime Video
  • Prime Music
  • Prime Photos
3.9

Summary

Even in it’s early state, Starlink is much, much ‘better than nothing’ in Canada and provides considerably better speeds and latencies than its traditional satellite internet and LTE wireless internet competitors for a reasonable, if somewhat elevated, price.

Pros

  • Consistent, very fast delivery
  • Huge library of shows & movies
  • Unlimited photo storage
  • Massive music catalog

Cons

  • Increase in shipping speed may be negligible
  • Limited to products fulfilled by Amazon
  • Video and audio quality could be better
  • Limited music skips
  • Only 5 GB of video storage
  • Amazon’s corporate history

Amazon Prime features

FeatureDetail
Price$9.99 per month or $99 if paid annually (equivalent to $8.25 a month)
Free trial30 days
Student price$4.99 per month or $49 if paid annually ($4.08 per month)
Free trial6 months
Free same-day shippingToronto, Vancouver, Calgary on qualifying orders over $25
Free one-day shippingMost cities and towns in Canada, no minimum purchase required
Free two-day shippingNearly all addresses in Canada, except remote locations
Shipping speeds apply to items marked as eligible on the product page sold by Amazon.ca or Fulfilled by Amazon

What is Amazon Prime?

Amazon Prime is a subscription service from Amazon that gives members access to fast and free shipping, exclusive shopping discounts through Lightning Deals and Prime Day deals and entertainment services including Prime Video, Prime Music, Prime Gaming, and more.

Started in the US in 2013, the service was brought to Canada in 2013. There are more than 200 million Prime members worldwide – more than 2 million in Canada and some estimates indicate probably closer to 13 million.

Who is Amazon Prime for?

Canadians who shop online and want the convenience of fast shipping who end up using Amazon for many of their purchases, especially those making frequent, small purchases of less than $25. Or who buy more niche, non-major name brand products that are not sold by or stocked and fulfilled by Amazon.

This means primarily younger (millennials and Gen Z) individuals who are savvy at finding deals and comparing prices online, online and for whom convenience is king.

Amazon Prime benefits

Shipping and shopping

Prime members benefit from faster shipping for free – with packages arriving in 1 to 2 days to basically anywhere in Canada at no additional cost for products marked as eligible and either sold by Amazon.ca or Fulfilled by Amazon – typically the more popular, brand-name items.

One-day shipping applies
Two-day shipping applies
  • Free shipping: Unlimited free deliveries with no minimum order size. Without Prime, shipping is free for any order of $35 or more of the thousands of eligible items.
  • Free same-day delivery: In Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary on qualifying orders over $25.
  • Free one-day delivery: Most cities and towns in Canada, no minimum purchase required. A typical price for one-day shipping without Prime is $9.99 + $1.99 per pound.
  • Free two-day delivery: Nearly all addresses in Canada, except remote locations. A typical price for two-day shipping without Prime is $4.99 + $1.99 per pound.
  • Lightning Deals: Get access to Lightning Deals (also known as Early Access Deals) – limited-time sales of limited quantity – 30 minutes before non-Prime members.
  • Exclusive Sales: Prime Day (July) and Prime Early Access Sale (October) deals are only available to Prime members.

Prime Video

Prime Video in Canada has a catalog of over 8,500 titles – 7,000 movies and 1,500+ shows according to JustWatch that you can watch on up to 3 devices at the same time in up to 1080p (4k is not yet available) on your smart TV, mobile phone, or tablet or any device that supports Chromecast. While technically ad free, they occasionally show 30 second, skippable promos for their own shows when you click play on a title.

You can download content (including entire seasons) for offline viewing using their app for iOS, Android, Mac or Windows.

Their catalog includes a good selection of older non-Disney shows and movies, as well as their exclusive Amazon Originals:

TV shows

  • Jack Ryan
  • Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
  • One Tree Hill
  • Downton Abbey
  • The Man in the High Castle
  • Hunters

Movies

  • Bullet Train
  • The Lord of the Rings trilogy
  • Everything Everywhere All at Once
  • Good Will Hunting

One downside is that content included with Prime is mixed together with titles available to buy or rent for an additional price – indicated by the “$” symbol – basically movie rental ads – but you can filter them out by going to the “Included With Prime” category.

There are also a number of optional add-on channels available, each with an additional fee so you can keep more of your streaming services’ content behind just one login:

Amazon Music

Amazon Music lets you shuffle play any artist, album or playlist of 100 million songs (increased from 2 million in 2022) ad-free in up to 320 kbps quality. You get 6 skips every 60 minutes.

A set collection of All-Access playlists tailored to personalized listening preferences can be played on demand (unlimited skips) and download them for offline listening:

This is great if you enjoy listening to recent, top hits from popular artists.

It also includes a collection of podcasts ad-free on demand from Wondery, CANADALAND, CBC and The New York Times.

Upgrading to Amazon Music Unlimited, which offers its own 30 day free trial and costs an additional $8.99 per month adds the ability to pick specific songs to play, unlimited skips, and offline listening. It also provides access to 75 million songs at “lossless” CD-quality and over 7 million songs at better-than-CD quality – up to 24 bit, 192 kHz.

Amazon Photos

Amazon Photos lets you securely and automatically backup your photos and videos into the cloud and save, share, and access them on desktop, mobile, and tablet.

Amazon account holders get 5 GB by default, but Prime members get unlimited photo storage at full-resolution (something no other major storage service offers) and 5 GB of video storage. 100 GB of additional storage is $24.99 per year and can hold about 14 hours of 1080p video.

Photos can be shared with up to 5 family members in the Family Vault – allowing the non-Prime accounts to use and share the space that the account with Amazon Prime has. Advanced image recognition makes it easy to search search and filter through all of your photos by a specific person, place or object.

Prime Reading

Prime Reading lets you read any of the 3,000+ rotating romance, thrillers, comics and children’s novel ebooks anywhere and anytime using the Kindle app for iOS or Android (you don’t need a Kindle device). Current trending options include:

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  • The Perfect Marriage
  • 1984

Prime Gaming

Prime Gaming gives you characters, skins, items and XP boosts for games like League of Legends, GTA V, Apex Legends and FIFA as well as a rotating collection of free PC games (typically indie and older titles) such as:

  • The Evil Within 2
  • Dishonored 2
  • Breathedge

You need a Prime membership to claim the games, but once claim the game using the code, you’ll be able to download and play them at any time – even after you cancel your Prime membership. The games are played using either the Amazon Games App or via entering a code on GOG.com.

You also get a free Twitch channel subscription every month to subscribe to your favourite channel.

Amazon Prime FAQ

Can I share my membership?

Yes, you can technically share your membership by giving your login information to another user as you can save multiple delivery addresses in an account and set which one is the default. 11% of surveyed users use another person’s account – typically a parent’s – to access member benefits.

However, doing this is generally not recommended for security and privacy purposes.

The US, UK and other countries have the Amazon Household feature, which allows Prime members to create up to 2 adult, 4 teen and 4 child profiles within their account that can share the benefits and separate order histories (to hide gift purchases) but this feature is not available in Canada.

How many times can you do the free trial?

You can start a new 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime once every 12 months. As long as you haven’t been an Amazon Prime member at any time in the last 12 months, you can use the free trial again.

How to sign up for Amazon Prime?

  1. Go to Amazon Prime.
  2. Select Start your free trial.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions if prompted.

Can I cancel anytime?

Yes, you can cancel Amazon Prime at any time and you will have access to all of the benefits until the end of the period you paid for.

If you cancel within 14 days of signing up for or converting from a free trial to a paid membership, we will refund your full membership fee.

provided that we may charge you (or withhold from your refund) the value of Prime benefits used by you and your account during this 14 day period. If you cancel at any other time, we will refund your full membership fee only if you and your account did not make any eligible purchases or take advantage of Prime benefits since your latest Prime membership charge.

How to cancel Amazon Prime?

You can cancel your membership at any time by logging in to Amazon.ca or the Amazon app and:

  1. At the top right, click Account & Lists or menu button
  2. Click the Prime membership option
  3. At the top, click Manage my membership, then End membership and benefits
  4. Click End my Benefits
  5. Click End on [date] (not Pause)

Is there a senior discount for Amazon Prime Canada?

No, there is no discount for seniors for Amazon Prime in Canada at this time.

Is Audible included with Prime?

No, Amazon’s audiobook subscription service Audible is not included in Prime membership.

However, if you haven’t been on an Audible Premium Plus membership before, you can sign up for a 30 day free trial and receive 1 free credit (2 credits for Prime members). Every credit can be used to buy any audiobook title to download and keep forever, along with access to the entire Plus Catalog – thousands of Audible Originals, podcasts, and audiobooks.

After the trial, the cost of Audible is $14.95 per month.

Contact Amazon

To contact Amazon regarding an order, payment issue or cancelling Prime, log into your account.

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About the author

Alex Wideman
Alex Wideman is a consumer rights advocate, serial entrepreneur and the editor-in-chief of Cansumer. He has a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Queen's University. He is passionate about helping others save time and money and has been creating consumer-focused online resources for over 10 years. More about Cansumer Read more

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