Amazon Just Dropped Its Minimum Spend for Free Shipping — Again

Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

It’s about time.

Amazon has returned its free shipping minimum to $35, after almost a year of offering free shipping only for orders of $49 or more.

The online shopping giant implemented the increase in April 2016. An Amazon spokesperson confirmed the new reduction to CNET, but didn’t elaborate on the cause.

Shipping on books, Amazon’s superstar, has remained the same: Spend $25 and your books ship free.

A near-$50 order minimum was likely a hefty requirement for people who couldn’t see themselves making the most of a yearly $99 Amazon Prime membership.

Thanks, Walmart

Why would Amazon quietly reduce its free-shipping minimum?

To keep up with Walmart.

Walmart KO’d its ShippingPass program on Jan. 31, which cost $49 per year for free shipping. It refunded membership fees to customers who’d signed up and instead implemented free two-day shipping on orders of at least $35.

Both stores have a limited selection of items that ship in two days; Walmart places a green “2-day shipping” logo next to theirs. However, Walmart doesn’t ship on weekends, so its free two-day shipping is really two business days.

Amazon, on the other hand, is a tireless machine that never needs to sleep, so you can get your gargantuan bag of cat litter before Fluffy’s box needs a change. Items that ship free are marked with “FREE shipping” on product detail pages.

Your Turn: Do these shipping changes at Amazon and Walmart change how you shop online with either retailer?

Lisa Rowan is a writer and producer at the Penny Hoarder. She frequently uses her Amazon Prime subscription to purchase heavy items.

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