Nearly every student on campus likely knows by now that they can use their student credentials to get a trial of Amazon Prime Student. It comes with most of the same perks as Amazon Prime, but we get a six-month trial rather than 30 days and it costs £3.99/month, half of the regular Prime rate of £7.99/month.
It seems like a no-brainer to get the trial. After all, it’s free, right? And you certainly get quite a bit for just a few pounds per month. What happens all too often, however, is that students who don’t really need Prime Student get the trial then forget about it, and wind up being charged for a service they are not using.
As a consumer, be careful to ensure you are not spending money when you don’t need to be. Here are a few steps you can use to take full advantage of the free trial without losing too much money.
First, if your family already has an Amazon UK Prime account, consider whether you need your own at all. You may prefer to create your own account anyway if you don’t want your parents seeing everything you order, but if you mainly want a Prime Student account to get access to Prime Video or Music then you might be just as happy using your parents’ account (with their permission, of course).
Second, if you decide you would like to use the trial, whether to actually try the service or just to order everything you want at the beginning of your university years (or to binge-watch that one show you’ve been dying to see), then by all means do so. Just be careful to turn off the automatic subscription. According to an Amazon Customer Service rep, you can stop the auto-renewal with the following steps: click “Your Account” at the top of the Amazon website, click on “Prime Settings” and click the “Do Not Continue” button.
Third, you’ll need to decide whether or not to keep the subscription once the trial runs out. Don’t just assume that it is worth the cost, because half off the price of regular Prime is still an unnecessary monthly expense if you’re not using your subscription enough.
If you make purchases on Amazon, then you should look at the shipping costs. These rates may change, so we will not quote price points, but suffice it to say that there are a range of fees levied on different orders, depending on delivery speed and often size of the package as well as method of collection (ordering to an Amazon Locker or Pickup location is often cheaper). Orders over a certain price point may even have free shipping without needing to apply the Prime discount.
For those who (like me) weren’t familiar with Amazon Lockers or Pickup Locations before coming to St Andrews, a quick introduction: Amazon Lockers are big electronic lockers where you can pick up your packages. There are several scattered around St Andrews, including a big one just outside the university library. Pickup Locations are stores around St Andrews which will receive your packages and give them to you when you stop by.
Once you’ve used your Prime Student account for a few months, it’s important to sit down and do some rough math to figure out how much money you’ve saved in shipping. If it’s more than £3.99/month (the cost of subscription), then you will likely benefit from turning your paid subscription back on. Do be careful to keep an eye on your spending habits, however:, and consider turning it off if you know you will not be making many purchases in a given month.
If you find that you save less than £3.99/month in shipping with the Prime Student trial, you must weigh the cost of the subscription with the other benefits you receive through it. Simply getting packages faster (Prime shipping delivers items in 1 business day, while standard shipping delivers them in 1-2 business days) might make Prime Student more appealing to impatient shoppers. Fast shipping could also encourage impulse buys, however, so steering clear of Prime Student might be a way of sparing your bank account from some future abuses.
Moving away from the issue of shipping, some Amazon customers choose to have a Prime Student account in order to take advantage of the other services that come with it. However, be careful here: many people enjoy Prime Video and Prime Music, but they may not be worth the price to everyone, especially for those of us who already pay to use services like Netflix or Hulu, or who have a large music library already stored on another service.
The other Prime services may similarly be redundant for some, but others may find them worth the subscription fee. Prime Photos is a handy way to store your pictures, Prime Reading is a nice way to get some free ebooks, and Twitch Prime holds some appeal for gamers.
If these services make Amazon Prime worth it to you, then it is certainly worth getting. If, however, you do not need Prime shipping and you use other services that do everything a Prime account would offer, then do not feel like you “need” to keep (or even make) a trial subscription. Cancel away, and remember, you can always start it up again if you need to.