Amazon is piloting a new $9.99 monthly grocery subscription for Prime members in three cities

Amazon is piloting a new grocery subscription offering for Prime members in three cities, the company revealed on Thursday. The new $9.99 per month subscription gives Prime members access to unlimited free grocery delivery on orders over $35 from Whole Foods Market and Amazon Fresh. The subscription also offers unlimited 30-minute pickup on orders of any size.

The new offering is being tested in Denver, Colorado; Sacramento, California; and Columbus, Ohio, the company told TechCrunch in an email.

"We’re always experimenting with features to make shopping easier, faster, and more affordable, and we look forward to hearing how members who take advantage of this offer respond," said Tony Hoggett, Amazon's senior vice president of worldwide grocery stores, in a statement.

Prime members currently pay a $6.95 fee for Fresh orders between $50 and $100 and $9.95 for orders less than $50.

But, Prime members didn't always have to pay for Fresh deliveries on orders above $35. Amazon started charging delivery fees for Fresh grocery orders that are under $150 earlier this year in January, removing a perk that gave Prime members free delivery on orders over $35. Amazon then revised this decision in October and slashed the threshold for free grocery deliveries from $150 to $100.

As for Whole Foods orders, Amazon implemented a $9.95 fee on delivery orders back in September 2021. The were previously offered at no extra change.

With this new subscription offering, Prime members would no longer have to pay any of these fees if their delivery order is above $35. Amazon likely hopes that the membership would encourage people to place more orders without worrying about the fees associated with each delivery.

The launch comes a month after Amazon announced that customers across the United States will no longer need to have a Prime membership to order groceries from Amazon Fresh for delivery or free pickup. At the time, Amazon said a similar option would soon be available to Whole Foods shoppers. The change makes Amazon more competitive against companies like Instacart, Walmart and DoorDash.

Amazon operates dozens of Fresh grocery stores across the United States and expanded its push into the grocery space by acquiring Whole Foods in 2017. However, its grocery business has declined, likely due to competition. A report from The Information published last year revealed that Fresh stores were running empty and that store openings had slowed.