Amazon has restricted Prime sharing

Amazon has restricted Prime sharing


This is significant.

In the past, you could share Prime shipping benefits with four adults not on your account. I described it this way in 2014:

“You can share Prime shipping benefits with other people living at your same address. So, if you have, let’s say, an adult kid living with you with their own Amazon account, they can share your shipping benefit at no additional cost. You can have four additional people (not on your account…everybody on your account gets it automatically) under your shipping benefits.”
What can you do with Amazon Prime?

That’s not the case any more.

According to the

Amazon help page: Share Your Amazon Prime Benefits (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit by shopping*)

you can now only share shipping with one other adult not on your account…and that’s by forming an “Amazon Household”.

You do get to share some things besides shipping:

  • “The following Prime benefits can be shared in an Amazon Household: shipping benefits, Prime Instant Video (streaming only), Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, Prime Early Access, and Prime Exclusive Deals.”

For more information about Amazon Households, see this:

Amazon Help Page: About Amazon Households (at AmazonSmile*)

One of the things is that you have to agree to share payment methods…if Pat forms a household with Kris, Kris can use Pat’s credit/debit cards (which are on Pat’s Amazon account)  to make Amazon purchases on Kris’ account.

The Kindle Owners’  Lending Library is borrowing up to one book a calendar month…that’s the one new Kindle specific benefit.

All of this only matters if you want to maintain separate Amazon accounts.

That, to me, is generally the simple solution…be on the same account.

If two people are on the same account, they can freely share Kindle books…no limitations (except for how many devices can have that book at the same time…it’s usually six). They both have the shipping benefits. There are limitations as to how many devices can stream a video at the same time, but they both have access to the videos.

The disadvantage of being on the same account?

Well, again, you are sharing payment methods…but not everybody needs to know the information. I’ve written quite a bit about “Kindle Klubs”. There are what I call “Managers”, who have the sign-in credentials and do things at

There are also “Users” who don’t have the information.

That can work very well: although it’s hard to hide gifts you buy from someone on the account. 🙂

Is this a reduction in benefits?

Yes, I think that’s fair to say.

There is some compensation in new sharing options…but certainly, some people who have been sharing Prime shipping benefits will feel a loss.

I don’t think it will hurt Amazon…I don’t think very many people have Prime just to share the shipping benefits.

Some people will now get their own Prime accounts who didn’t have them…which ultimately helps Amazon. Now that you can

Give someone Prime (at AmazonSmile*)

I think Amazon will see that happen quite a bit more with this, with someone who has more money in the family buying Prime for someone who doesn’t.

Again, I would look at having people on the same account…even if there are also additional accounts for  private purchases. There is no limit as to the number of people who can be on an account, but you can not do it for commercial purposes.

One more thing: it looks like current accounts will maintain the old rules…until they come up for renewal.

If you paid for Prime planning to share it the shipping benefits with four people, you will still get that for which you paid. It’s just that the next time you would pay (if you chose to do that), the rules would be different and you would re-evaluate the choice.

I think, though, that most people would renew.

What do you think? Does this impact your feelings about Prime membership? Have you been sharing your shipping benefits with more than one other adult not on your account? Is this part of Amazon phase two? Is there a reason that you don’t have loved ones on your account, but that they have their own separate account? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

11 Responses to “Amazon has restricted Prime sharing”

  1. Phink Says:

    But we can still share Prime with adults not living in our home, correct? I just went to ‘account’ and then ‘your prime membership’ and at the bottom clicked on ‘share your prime benefits’. I still have 3 adults listed. My wife who lives with me, my adult son who lives 2 hours away, and my brother who lives 4 1/2 hours away. Until a couple months ago I would have swore all they could have were my shipping benefits. However, my brother got an Echo and he is able to play Prime music. Now it could be it’s a trial thing that comes with the Echo but he’s had it probably two months now. If Prime music has stopped working he has not told me about it.

    Under the list of three adults I am sharing Prime with there is a big rectangle box that explains the household thing. I click on it’s link and the next page says 1 adult and 4 kids. I wonder if I’ll be able to share my Prime with my brother and adult son here soon?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Phink!

      My understanding is that the next time your Prime runs out, you won’t be able to have those three adults sharing your Prime shipping.

      I think, technically, those adults were supposed to have been living with you. I don’t think Amazon enforced that, but I think that was the rule.

      Amazon quite explicitly says one other adult, and then children. Sounds like your son is an adult (not qualified)…”son” and “child” aren’t synonymous in this.

      When your Prime is up, I think you’ll be able to share your benefits with your wife…that’s assuming she has a separate account.

      You’ll have a couple of choices:

      You can join up in an account…no restrictions.

      You can do the shipping from your account and they can pay you back for the items.

  2. Zebras Says:


    I noticed at some point they sometimes charge more than $2.99 for prime overnight shipping now. I don’t remember an announcement about that change, but they want to be careful about diluting the perceived benefits of prime membership too much.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Zebras!

      That happened on June 24th of 2013, I think. The price had been a flat $3.99, but went down to $2.99 on some items (depending on size and weight) and could also go up more than $3.99 on heavier/bigger items.

  3. Tom Semple Says:

    For our situation (2 adults), Amazon Household is not a takeaway, but it doesn’t provide any features that would merit signing up with it. We have long shared the shipping benefits, video apps are all registered to primary member (me), and only one of us reads on Kindle platform (me again).

    The main thing I would like is to see would be Prime Music benefits extended to both adult accounts, as one can only stream Prime Music on one device at a time. We use that a lot with our Echo, and if it is streaming Prime Music, another device cannot (without interrupting the former).

    Note there is also ‘Amazon Student’ (6 month free trial, 50% off regular membership, for up to 4 years, requires .edu email address and enrollment in at least one US/PR/DC based course). That may help with families which previously included adult child for free shipping benefits, and it includes some other benefits as well.

  4. Edward Boyhan Says:

    There have been several articles about this change in the technical press. The sense of most of these is that Amazon is moving to make all the prime sharing, etc targeted at typical two adult families with some children.

    Since I’m a single adult, this normally wouldn’t affect me. I have,however, been thinking about getting a second account for better management and organization of my relationship with Amazon. Tying these two accounts together with the terms as recently laid out will be attractive to me.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      I think it will work for a lot of people. The takeaway is for situations where one adult has been paying for Prime, and other adults (sometimes not related) have been using the Prime benefits.

      Two adult households with some children seems more like Leave it to Beaver than the current situation. Take a look at this:

      If I were Amazon (and contrary to what some people suspect, I’m not) 😉 , I’d be very careful about branding things as “family”. I understand that it’s a marketing thing. However, I think it’s more socially flexible to be more general with the membership/shared access terminology.

  5. Tania Says:

    My husband is the primary member on the prime account and I’m linked to his account through the Household option. When I purchased my husband his birthday gift a couple months ago – he got a message from Amazon telling him all about the purchase (his gift that was meant to be a surprise). He also got a notification of when it shipped and when it was delivered. Is there anyway to stop these types of notifications?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tania!

      Absolutely, and I do that at the holidays. 🙂 When you say “message”, I’m assuming you mean by text.

      There’s a link to your account at the top of each Amazon page (your husband will probably need to do this, unless you know the account password).

      If you scroll down to

      Settings – Account Settings

      you’ll see

      Manage ‘Shipment Updates via Text’

      You can unsubscribe there, and also change the phone number which gets the texts. You could resubscribe again later.

      Also: “…You may opt-out at any time by sending STOP to 262966”

      • Tania Says:

        Thank you! That did the trick. The odd thing is that my husband’s cell number was in my account. So, he was receiving texts whenever I purchased anything from my account…

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Tania!

        Glad I could help!

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