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Amazon just made its platform less appealing for freeloaders. On July 31, the tech giant limited Prime sharing options to one adult. Prior to the controversial update, subscribers could spread the perks to four individuals.

Those who are splitting the $99 Prime fee with a group of friends will be greatly affected by the change, but only after renewal. As long as you don’t touch your current settings, you should still be able to share the shipping feature. If you deactivate, close or open a new account, you’ll get pegged with the new rules.

Amazon Prime

A Closer Look at the New Guidelines

In addition to the enormous cut, sharing the benefit is also much harder than before. According to the new policy, the person linked to your Prime status has to use the same credit card for purchases:

“In order to share content, Prime benefits, and Amazon Mom benefits, both adult account holders need to authorize each other to use credit and debit cards associated with their Amazon accounts for purchases on Amazon. This will not affect either of their current payment settings, but each adult will be able to copy the credit and debit cards of the other account to his or her Amazon account and use them for purchases with Amazon.”

Technically, it would still be possible to use multiple cards, but authorization is required for the access. A Prime user can create up to four child profiles for Kindle books. Unfortunately, students holding discounts are not able to share benefits with others.

Back in the Amazon Prime golden days, the business was handing out perks like candy to boost membership rates:

“Free or paid Amazon Prime members can share their shipping benefits with up to four additional family members living in the same household. If you purchase a Prime membership for a small business, you may invite up to four co-workers to shop with this corporate account.”

To avail for the free two-day shipping, the account holder had to key in an individual’s personal details (name, relationship, email address and birthday). After confirming the submission, an invite was sent to the person.

Amazon sharing benefits

Why Did Amazon Update Its Policies?

The company wants to be sure that the Amazon Household program, which is ultimately designed for a family or group living under a single roof, doesn’t transform into a friends-sharing system. By severely limiting the slots, you’re forced to share with the one person you have very close ties with, such as a significant other or a direct relative.

Amazon also has a requirement that everyone under a household should have the same shipping address. But the business hasn’t officially cracked down on this policy. There are several reasons why the company is slow to enforce such guidelines. Amazon doesn’t want to scare away all of its Prime members because they spend boatloads of money on the website.

According to data from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, “Amazon Prime now has 44 million US members, spending on average about $1,200 per year, compared to about $700 per year for non-members.”

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