Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) announced on Thursday that the annual cost of an Amazon Prime membership is increasing from $79 to $99, starting March 20. The cost for students will be $49, and the cost of Amazon Prime Fresh memberships are still $299.
Amazon emailed existing Amazon Prime members to inform them of the price increase for their next renewal. Users near the end of their current membership may want to consider upgrading in the next seven days at the price of $79.
New members can also create an Amazon Prime account for $79 for the next seven days.
The announcement proved beneficial for Amazon stock. Shares opened at $376 and shot up to more than $380 before coming back down.
Amazon Prime gives customers unlimited two-day shipping on most items on its store, free access to Amazon’s Instant Video streaming service, and allows Kindle users to share e-books with each other. There are rumors that Amazon will soon launch an on-demand music streaming service.
Some claim that Amazon is actually cheating Prime members by inflating prices to cover the “free shipping” claim. Two lawsuits have been filed against Amazon; the company has not made a statement regarding either.