Update: Amazon just just announced Sunday delivery for Prime members in New York,and LA with coverage expanding in 2014. Just another reason why Prime makes sense for frequent Amazon shoppers.

Amazon has quietly restructured their free shipping policy to only apply to orders of at least $35, an increase of $10 over the previous threshold of $25. Clearly it won’t affect high-priced items, but it can increase the price of smaller items substantially depending on the number of items ordered. This makes an Amazon Prime membership even more valuable.

We considered Prime a ‘no-brainer’ before and yesterday’s policy change only laminates our beliefs even further. Prime members receive free 2-day shipping on millions of items offered by Amazon direct, and deeply discounted 1-day shipping options. Shipping savings alone (especially during the holidays) can justify the price of a Prime membership, but members can also enjoy unlimited streaming of 41,000 movies and TV shows, and over 350,000 Kindle books for free.

Amazon Prime is a yearly $79 membership, but you can try it out free for 30 days. Student discounts are also available. You could also opt to simply ‘pad’ your orders to meet the $35 minimum, but you’d probably be able to pay for a Prime membership with that extra money spent throughout the year. Bottom line is that you are going to need to slightly alter your buying habits on Amazon to receive free shipping and we think opting for a Prime membership is the way to go.