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The spot price is public. They're pretty clear that if your instance's max bid is X and the spot price is >X then your instance will be terminated. It's not clear how quick the terminate occurs, i.e. whether there is some leeway there or not. So if there are 10 instance at $1 running and one max bid at $2 comes in they can's simply boot off one of the 10 to run the $2/hr one. Everyone also pays the same price, it's really not as simple as you make it. In terms of Amazon collecting multiple full-hours fees per hour: they're clear about that. If you stop a server part way throu an hour you pay for the hour (it has always been like that), but if they stop your server part way through the hour you do NOT pay for the the hour at all! So there's a dis-incentive for them to kill servers at the wrong time...