(Editor’s note: You can read about Amazon Student on Amazon’s site. Go here to learn more.)
Is the version of Amazon Prime specifically designed for high school / college students a good idea, or is it just an attempt by yet another company to separate you from your dollars?
I took some time, did some research, and found out the good, the bad, and the hidden “gotcha’s” in Amazon Student. Here you go.
#1: You pay a yearly price of $50 (which is half of the usual rate) for almost all of the same benefits as Amazon Prime.
#2: You get free shipping on your books (purchase and rental). This can be a very big savings, especially if you’re renting heavy books — like textbooks.
Even though you are essentially signing up for Amazon Prime, you don’t get a lot of the Prime benefits until you pay your $50 annual fee. Specifically, you miss out on:
- About 40,000 movies and TV shows
- Over 1 million free songs to stream
- Sharing your Prime account — you can’t share a Student account. (You can share a Prime account with up to four people).
To make Amazon Student worth it, you’ll need to be spending at least $50 a year on shipping / freight charges. For most students, that is pretty easy to achieve.
Although you may think that you’re going to get free shipping anyway (because you get free shipping on orders over $35), from my experience you’ll end up paying extra shipping charges anyway to (a) get your items faster or (b) because too often you’ll need only one or two items, you won’t make it to $35, so you’ll end up eating the shipping costs.
Take a look at your recent six months’ worth of purchases or rentals from Amazon. If you’re spending even as little as $100 a year, you can save quite a bit of money by going with Amazon Student.
Don’t forget — Amazon Student is free for six months, so at the very least you should sign up for it, get all your books for the year, then cancel before the annual fee kicks in. Sweet!
Couple more gotcha’s to watch out for:
- When renting or ordering products, the shipping rates are buried and you can’t see them until you complete the transaction. Luckily, this doesn’t matter if you have Amazon Student since two-day shipping is free for rented or new products, but it is something to be wary of if you’re buying something used that is being sold to you by a 3rd party. Shipping charges will apply in this case.
- After your free 6-month Amazon Student expires, you will be automatically charged for Amazon Prime which is $50. I have been told this is done a bit sneakily with minimum to no email notifications, so just be cautious if this is something you don’t want to continue after the initial 6-month period.
The Final Verdict
Aside from this, Amazon Student is very much worth it. It is definitely not a scam and is actually helpful and affordable, especially for pre-meds who need to rent large texts. For more information on why you should get Amazon Student, check out my article “Amazon Student Review — Is It Worth It?”