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Amazon Raises Free Shipping Threshold to $35 Depending on Location

You may now have to spend more at Amazon.com in order to qualify for free shipping if you are not a Prime member. (Prime members pay $139 a year for free shipping with no minimum order size.)

For years, as long as a non-Prime member made at least a $25 minimum purchase, you got free shipping. Now there is a new $35 minimum but it does not apply to everyone. Who has to pay more? Believe it or not, that seems to depend on the delivery address — the zip code where you live.

For example, if you live in downtown Seattle where Amazon is headquartered, free shipping comes with only a minimum purchase of $25. If you wanted to buy this test item, you would need to purchase two packages to avoid shipping charges.

Amazon in Seattle


But, if you live in the next city over in Bellevue, Washington, you would need a $35 minimum purchase and would have to buy three of them to get them shipped free.

Amazon Bellevue

The same is true across the country, in certain geographic regions and in some neighboring towns. So for example in New York City, Manhattanites are treated to the lower $25 threshold, while those in Brooklyn have to spend $35 or more.


NY shipping charges vary

Live in Beverly Hills? You get the $25 minimum. But reside in Westwood right next door and you will need a $35 purchase to get delivery there free.

If you call Lincoln, Nebraska home, you have to spend at least $35 now to get free shipping to your house. But, if you live in Omaha, just 58 miles away, your minimum purchase threshold is only $25.

In Massachusetts where MrConsumer lives, customers in Revere only need a $25 purchase to get free shipping, while those in Lynn, the next town over, have to spend at least $35.

We asked Amazon why they implemented the higher free shipping threshold in some areas. Is this some type of market test? Is this just the first step in extending the $35 minimum to all non-Prime members? Or are they planning to make this two-tier system permanent?

In a statement to Consumer World, a company spokesperson said, “We continually evaluate our offerings and make adjustments based on those assessments. We’re currently testing a $35 minimum for non-Prime customers to qualify for free shipping.”

It is unfortunate when consumers are still struggling with inflation and higher product prices that Amazon has chosen to pile on and charge for shipping that previously was free.

What do you think of Amazon’s change?

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24 thoughts on “Amazon Raises Free Shipping Threshold to $35 Depending on Location”

  1. As a Covid hermit who is also an Amazon Prime member, I am grateful to Amazon, especially since March of 2020, for letting me buy whatever I need and have it shipped to me at no cost (my purchases have been numerous and the Prime membership has been very worth it for me). However, I feel bad I must patronize this greedy company, owned by one of if not the richest men in the world, who should be offering discounts and reduced fees to its customers instead of seeking ways to make them pay more.

  2. We have been Amazon Prime members for years but before we joined the free shipping threshold was $35 in our area, many years ago. Amazon lowered the threshold to $25 in 2017 when Walmart began rolling out its online store. I guess due to inflation they are going back to the old rate.

  3. I found we needed the $35 limit last week when I placed an order.

    The other thing I have found frustrating is returns now have to be taken about 17 miles away rather than in our town.

  4. I’ve noticed a few things with Amazon recently. Their grocery business is struggling. There’s too much competition in that field and Amazon has tried to grow too quickly without regard to how much they’re charging. They have “surge” pricing which is deplorable. If you want your groceries to cost less, don’t buy them on certain days and certainly, not on the weekend.

    Many of their regular items have prices that fluctuate depending on how close it is to the weekend. Some of them are substandard. You must do your homework and read through the reviews to find the real ones.

    Based on this new information regarding the implementation of higher delivery thresholds based on your zip code, I have no doubt whatsoever that Amazon will be raising the price soon for Amazon Prime membership.

    While I love Amazon Prime, it’s value has been diminishing lately, which is indicative of internal problems at Amazon. Cheap stuff might have lost some of its allure.

  5. It may depend on the distance from the distribution centers…. or it could be semi-random 🙂 The biggest issue I’ve had with non-prime shipping is they seem to hold the order for a day or two.

    I’m happy with Prime… to avoid the shipping delay, and for Amazon Music (in the car). I don’t use Prime Video much.

  6. On several occasions, when the question of shipping cost comes up, I’ve often found I could purchase the item on ebay from a highly rated seller, for the same or less money,with free shipping and returns.

  7. I live in FL, zip code 32720 and got hit with the higher mininimum for free shipping. Also, the shipping times are anywhere from 1-2 weeks!
    Alternatives are out there and I’ll take advantage of those. Amazon is a predator company with zero ethics, other than their bottom line. Goodbye!

  8. As a non-prime Amazon shopper the only change that will happen as a result of the new $35. free shipping requirement is that I will be thinking twice before making a purchase and will be making fewer orders so I can meet the new free shipping threshold. It’s tit for tat in this case where a negative move by the seller is met with a complimentary negative move by the buyer. The smart buyer will always find a way to accommodate changing conditions.

  9. Remember the days before Amazon when there was no free shipping anywhere, or when the minimum order to get it was much higher, usually $50 or $100 no matter where you shopped?

    Amazon created this monster of a “free shipping” illusion and it was a clever marketing tool, but now it’s come back to bite them when they are forced to increase the minimum due to rising gas prices.

    I feel sorry for the Amazon warehouse workers and drivers who have to put up with this crap. “Your delivery will be between 5pm and 10pm.” 10pm!!! These are the lengths they have to go to in order to meet their delivery promises. And they are failing at it more and more often as I get these emails with “We’re sorry. Your delivery has been delayed. You can now expect delivery on……….”

  10. Amazon offers an amazing range of products but many times the shipping charge has caused me to purchase the item elsewhere.

  11. Clearly the free-ship threshold is based on actual transit cost, which is the how UPS/Fedex/USPS manage most of their pricing structures. Applying standardized thresholds and shipping charges regardless of location mean that those in urban areas are subsidizing deliveries to remote burbs and farms.

    I live in an urban center where Amazon is incredibly prompt (a huge number of items can deliver within hours). Imagine the cost of delivering a tube of toothpaste to Cornville when there are no other deliveries within 40 miles. Compare this to the Amazon driver who drops to eight households on my city block alone in a daily route.

    I’ll add that Amazon drivers are generally professional, pleasant, on time, and responsible in assuring safe delivery placement. Wish I could say that about Fedex! In any case, I pay a premium to live in the city and deserve the cost benefit of efficiencies in local delivery that come with urban living.

    Overall, I marvel at how well Amazon executes their entire business. They are generally price competitive, often offering selection of an item from multiple suppliers (promoting price competitiveness within the Amazon sphere). People hate Bezos because he’s rich, not because he runs his business poorly. He has perhaps the finest business model I’ve ever observed. I save a ton in cost and convenience as an Amazon customer for my home and business. In the rare event of a problem, human voice customer support is accessible, consultative, and committed to satisfaction.

  12. I’ve noticed this also. But I have been searching for items I need on e-bay. And so far I’ve found them and with free shipping. You have to search for it. But don’t be tied down to Amazon.

  13. I tested several zip codes: 95540 (where I live), 95501 (where I lived for 25 years), SF (94103), Portland OR (97201), and Redding CA (96001). Only 95825 was the $25 rate.

  14. From a public relations standpoint, these location-based shipping fees seem kind of silly and counter-productive. Not a good way to score points with customers! However, as a business, Amazon has a perfect right to do seemingly stupid things. Non-Prime shoppers who want free shipping need to ascertain the facts and either adjust their purchases accordingly or shop elsewhere.

  15. I am not a Prime member and only shop Amazon a couple times a year. But when I do, I always order enough to qualify for the basic free shipping. For me, there is no need to have it delivered yesterday. Also, there is an Amazon warehouse just about five miles away from where I live.

  16. Echoing some of the comments here, I’ve found Ebay has really spent the last couple of years rehabbing it’s image. It is a very useful place to find things and buy-it-now pricing is the norm for a majority of it.

    Ebay will also sort things by cost combining shipping and product costs together if you put your address it.

  17. My Amazon shipping has been $35 for quite some time. Personally I don’t care to pay out $140 (or whatever the current price is for Prime) just to get free shipping. Don’t do enough there.

  18. It’s a conundrum. Jeff Bezos has a business plan that revolutionized online shopping and he’s gotten really rich. He’s not obligated to support poor people. I would like to shop locally but these hometown stores usually don’t allow returns, maybe you get a gift certificate. We have been remodeling and needed 100 can light replacements. They’re 22$ each locally. On Amazon they’re $10 and the electricians thought they were very nice. That’s just one example. It’s super convenient for us. LL Bean used to have free shipping but every other company, you paid for shipping and for returns. I also use eBay and Walmart has really stepped up their game. It’s great to have choices.

  19. As a result of the increase, coupled with other increases here in Florida, such as over two thousand dollars on my homeowner’s insurance, I have been buying more and more locally and from websites that make better offers. For example, electronics, computer supplies,etc are frequently available from Newegg with free shipping.

    I do my best to avoid Amazon. I find that they are less and less a bargain.

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