**UPDATE 9/25/15** Sorry kids, it appears Amazon has closed the loophole by NOT allowing Gift of Prime purchases at the Transparent promo discount price. I was told just two days ago, by an Amazon customer support rep who checked with a supervisor at the time, that Gift of Prime subscriptions would be eligible for the $67 promo price, but apparently there’s been a policy change in the two days since then.
This Friday, 9/25/15 only, to celebrate its 5 wins for Transparent in the 67th Emmy Awards, Amazon will be offering one year of Prime membership to new members at a reduced price of $67. That’s a $32 savings, and represents a savings of over 30%. The offer begins at 12:01am PST on 9/25/15 and ends at 11:59pm the same day, and is only applicable to new memberships.
The fact that the offer specifically mentions “new members” might lead you to believe that if you’re a current member, you can’t take advantage of this offer. But I’ve just gotten off the phone with Amazon Prime customer support, and was told of a way current members can get in on the discount: via Give The Gift Of Prime.
Giving Prime As A Gift To New OR Current Members
I told the operator I was intending to renew my parents’ Prime membership as a gift, and asked if the promotion would be available for gift memberships purchased on 9/25. He said yes, it would. I then asked how that would work for my parents, who are current Prime members. He said they would receive a sort of gift card for a Prime membership via email, and when their current subscription ends they can use the gift card to start a new one. This means that if they currently have their Prime membership set to auto-renew, they will need to turn that off to ensure their current membership will expire at the end of the current term.
Giving Prime As A Gift To Yourself, As A Current Member
The Amazon rep said that gift Prime memberships are handled the same as regular Amazon gift cards, and could be sent to anyone with an email address. He volunteered that I could even send a Prime gift membership to myself.
This got my wheels turning. I asked if there would be any limits placed on the number of gift memberships a customer could buy on 9/25. The rep said he didn’t think so, but he would check with a supervisor to be sure.
When he came back on the line he said the supervisor confirmed that there would be no limit on the number of gift memberships a customer could buy on Friday.
Just to be sure, I laid it all out for him:
“So you’re saying that on Friday, I can buy one gift membership for my parents and another for myself, all of us current Prime members, at the discounted price, and so long as we’ve all turned off auto-renew on our Prime settings, we can redeem the gift membership the day after our current memberships expire?”
The answer was yes.
**UPDATE** I went to the Amazon Prime membership settings for my own account and see Amazon has redesigned things so there is no longer an auto-renew option shown, just options to ‘remind me 3 days before my renewal date’ and ‘end my membership’. In the past, ending your membership didn’t immediately cancel your Prime benefits, you’d still receive them through the end of the paid term, but since the options here have changed it’s probably safest to click the ‘remind me’ button, then go to Amazon and cancel your Prime membership after you receive the reminder email.
Also, if you intend to get a gift membership to renew a Prime account that won’t be expiring anytime soon (say, anytime more than 30 days after the day you purchase the gift membership), I’d suggest calling Amazon customer support before you buy to ask if there’s a time limit for redeeming Gift of Prime orders. Phone lines are likely to be pretty busy Friday, so you might want to make that call today or tomorrow. I didn’t think to ask this in my own call, because the gift membership I’m getting on Friday will be for an account that expires in mid-October.
I’ll Still Let My Own Membership Renew At Full Price
**UPDATE** A commenter wrote to say: “This sounds like a great deal but I have a question about storage of pictures and data. Prime members have unlimited storage of photos and I wonder what will happen to those if you let your prime membership lapse? Are there any other benefits that might be similarly affected by a lapse in membership?”
My answer is that I don’t know what will happen during the lapse. I don’t personally rely on the free cloud storage, but anyone who does might want to play it safe and just let their Prime membership renew at the regular price, without interruption.
There are certain benefits Prime members get from time to time, over and above the standard features of Prime. During special sale days, we sometimes get early access to limited-time offers, for example. When the Amazon Echo was first announced, Prime members were able to order it in a bundle that included the voice remote for $99, instead of the $210 that bundle will cost today.
I suspect there are other, behind-the-scenes benefits that come with being a Prime member of longstanding, too. I’ve noticed that when I call Amazon’s helpline about a billing matter or a return, the customer service rep always makes a point of mentioning how long I’ve been a Prime member, and that it’s appreciated. Does this weigh into Amazon’s considerations when I’m requesting a refund, or asking for some kind of exception? I can’t know for certain, but it seems possible.
Did my being a Prime member of longstanding give me any kind of waitlist edge when I signed up to buy an Echo for $99 late last year? Maybe.
Maybe those customer service calls always go my way because that’s just standard operating procedure for Amazon, so long as the customer is courteous and not asking for anything unreasonable. And maybe the fact that I received my Echo many weeks before they became available for the general public to order had nothing to do with my Prime tenure.
But since I think it’s possible, and I definitely feel Prime pays for itself within the first few months of the year every year in shipping cost savings alone for me, I’m fine with pitching in the extra $32 on my own account to renew my existing Prime membership, rather than let it expire and start a brand-new membership. It’s a great value even at full price, I don’t want to go even a single day without it, and I feel Amazon’s earned my $99 for the service.
Come back on Friday 9/25/15 between the hours of 12:01am PST and 11:59pm PST and click here to take advantage of the Prime Transparent promotion – note that you have to scroll down to find the link for ‘give the gift of Prime’ on the linked page. Remember, if you intend to go with gift memberships for current members, the current members will have to turn off auto-renew on their current Prime membership and redeem the gift membership after their current membership has expired.
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