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Amazon’s updated grocery delivery program has some strings attached

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After asserting itself as an overshadowing presence in retail, Amazon is still experimenting with ways to leave a similar mark in groceries. The company’s latest tweak to its service lowers the minimum price for free grocery deliveries to $35. However, most customers using the service will also need to pay a $10 monthly subscription in addition to having a Prime membership ($15 monthly or $139 annually).

To participate, you must live in one of the 3,500 supported cities and towns in the US. (When signing up, it will let you know if your primary shipping address isn’t supported.) The service offers unlimited grocery deliveries from Amazon Fresh, the Amazon-owned Whole Foods and various local and specialty partners. Those include Cardenas Markets, Save Mart, Bartell Drugs, Rite Aid, Pet Food Express, Mission Wine & Spirits and more.

The subscription includes one-hour delivery windows where available, unlimited 30-minute pickup orders and priority access to the company’s Recurring Reservations. This feature lets you pick a guaranteed weekly grocery delivery window. To use it, you’ll need to pick your weekly two-hour slot at least 24 hours in advance.

An Amazon Fresh worker in a neon green vest loads Prime Fresh groceries into a hatchback with a child grinning in the backseat. The person loading the groceries smiles back.

Amazon

People using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other government assistance programs can get the same grocery delivery benefits for half the price ($5 monthly). If you fall in that camp, you can get those perks without needing a Prime subscription on top of the subscription fee.

It remains to be seen if this latest iteration of the program will stick since Amazon’s strategy has been all over the place. Early last year, the company increased the minimum checkout price for free grocery deliveries from $35 to $150, then dropped it to $100 (while voiding the Prime requirement) about 10 months later. If you like this version of the program, cross your fingers that Amazon doesn’t change it again in a few months.

Before rolling out the program’s latest version on Tuesday, Amazon tested it in Columbus, OH, Denver, CO, and Sacramento, CA, in late 2023. The company says over 85 percent of survey respondents who used the service were “extremely” or “very” satisfied, leaving high marks for its convenience and savings on delivery fees.

You can see if the program is available in your area on Amazon’s groceries sign-up page. If it is, you can try it free for 30 days before paying.

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