Amazon appears to be reining in the number of people who share some of their Prime member benefits with others. In a rather stealth move over the weekend, the e-commerce giant reduced the number of people that could share a Prime member’s perks from four to just one other member of their household.
Consumerist reader V. pointed our attention to the the e-retailer’s quietly updated provision under the “Amazon Household” policy, which outlines how users can share content and other services from the company with others.
“Their ‘new’ sharing plan is Amazon Households, and is focused on sharing content, but the free prime shipping that could be split with (four) different family members at different addresses is GONE, with no notice,” V wrote.
Under the new provision, certain benefits that come with the $99/year Prime membership can only be shared between the two adults in a household. Those extras include: free two-day shipping, Prime Instant Video, Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and Prime Early Access.
Prior to the weekend change, as V points out, Prime members were allowed to share their membership perks with up to four other people. According to, the previous provision read:

“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.”

Prime members who chose to add people to their accounts simply had to record the person’s name, relationship, birthday and email address. The non-member would then receive an invitation, which required them to provide the account holder’s birthday.
While the old policy did stipulate that non-members added to Prime accounts live in the same household, there really was no way to ensure that was the case.
Amazon’s recent changes aren’t so apathetic. Instead of simply confirming that you know the Prime account holder by punching in their birth month and day, both parties must now authorize the other to use their credit cards on the site, which means, theoretically, you won’t just be handing over your Prime benefits to anyone.

“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.”

While the changes certainly may make Prime seem a little less useful for some households, not all is lost for long-time members.
Android Police reports that those who have already shared their Prime account with more than one person are grandfathered in. The only way you’ll lose the ability to share with someone already in the system is if you manually deactivated an account.
[via ecommercebytes, Android Police]

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Consumerist.