It’s common knowledge that an Amazon Prime membership nets you free two-day shipping. But there are additional benefits that make the service more worthwhile, and considering the cost of a yearly membership, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you aren’t taking advantage of all of them. Below, we’ve listed some of the benefits you should be reaping as an Amazon Prime member.
It’s worth noting that Amazon has had more than its fair share of debacles over the years. However, as of December 2019, there were over 112 million Prime members in the US. If you’re one of them, these perks are worth checking out.
What’s Amazon Prime, and How Much Does it Cost?
Amazon Prime is a premium membership to Amazon.com. If you’re a brand-new member, you can try it free for 30 days. This trial automatically renews, so set a reminder on your phone to reassess and make sure you cancel, if you want to, on time.
Amazon Prime costs $119 per year. You can pay $13 per month instead, but that raises the cost of the membership to $156 per year, so you’ll be paying for the convenience.
Students with a valid .edu email address can get Prime Student. Prime Student costs $59 annually or $6 per month. Students can also get a free six-month trial of Amazon Prime.
Finally, some customers are eligible for discounted Prime memberships. If you register a valid EBT card or Medicaid card, you can get Amazon Prime for $6 per month.
There are some perks you probably know about already, but the Covid-19 pandemic has thrown a wrench in supply chains everywhere, including at Amazon. While guaranteed shipping speeds may have slowed down a bit these days, usually Prime members are still eligible for free next-day shipping on millions of items and free two-day shipping on millions more. Depending on where you live, you may also be eligible for free same-day delivery. Other Amazon-owned stores also offer free shipping to Prime members, including ShopBop, Woot!, and East Dane.
Prime members get free (and commercial-free) Prime Music Streaming from a selection of 2 million songs. Members are also eligible for discounted subscriptions to Amazon Music Unlimited, a separate service that offers access to 60 million songs. Normally it costs $10 per month, but Prime members get it for $8 monthly.
Finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about Amazon’s members-only event, Prime Day. The annual “holiday” has outperformed both Black Friday and Cyber Monday in years past, but not every Prime Day deal is actually a bargain. The WIRED Gear team always covers the event to make your shopping easier. Typically, Prime Day is held in summer, but due to the ongoing pandemic, we have a feeling we won’t see Prime Day 2020 until autumn (if it makes an appearance at all.)
Overwhelmed by the sheer amount of boxes at your door? (Honestly, as a product writer, same.)
Amazon Day lets you schedule all of your deliveries to arrive on a certain day of the week. Rather than dealing with a box or two at a time on multiple days, you can get one package with all of your orders on whichever day you prefer. If you use Amazon Day, you aren’t locked in. That means if you’re ordering something you need quickly, you can still opt for the fastest shipping method. Amazon Day is a good way to cut back on the cardboard (and the carbon footprint).
This benefit isn’t available everywhere, but it’s convenient if you have access. Prime Now is a separate website or app that lets you shop for local delivery in as little as an hour. I’ve used it when I was traveling without a hoodie and it got unexpectedly cold outside. Two hours and $20 later, I had a new sweatshirt, all without leaving the couch. Depending on where you live, Prime Now might be more of a Whole Foods delivery service, but either way you’ll get your order quickly.
Prime members are eligible for special members-only discounts. This might mean a few bucks off your portable charger purchase, or a 20 percent off coupon to use on whatever pet food you want. Individual price drops vary, but we see these sorts of deals pretty often.
Early-Access Lightning Deals
Both during and outside of special events like Prime Day and Black Friday, Prime members get early access to select Lightning Deals. You will be able to shop 30 minutes before other customers. Whether Lightning Deals are worth your money is another discussion entirely, but it’s a perk that may be worth checking out.
If you don’t need your order to arrive right away, sometimes at checkout you’ll see the option for free No-Rush Shipping. Usually, choosing No-Rush Shipping gets you a free $1 digital credit to use on things like ebooks, digital games, movies, and the like. Sometimes the rewards expire after a certain duration.
I’ve used No-Rush credits to get as much as $10 off digital games on release day. Since videogame discounts are rare, especially right after they’re released, this can be lucrative if you time it correctly.
Amazon Fresh and Prime Pantry
Amazon Fresh lets you order groceries via Amazon and get them delivered to your door. It’s not available in all areas, but it is a different way to shop if you’re trying to avoid trips to the store. You also get a selection of products from Whole Foods available through Amazon Fresh. My mom uses Amazon Fresh to ship groceries to my student brother, in the hope that he eats at least one vegetable that’s not a part of a pizza.
If you’d rather not shop at Amazon for fresh ingredients, Prime Pantry focuses on shelf-stable staples in sizes that you’d find at the store. Simply fill up your box and it’ll ship for free if it’s worth $35 or more. There are almost always coupons available for Prime Pantry items, too, so you may find that using this method is cheaper than shopping in-person.
Since Amazon bought Whole Foods a few years back, you can usually find picks from Whole Foods store brands within Amazon’s grocery services. It’s a good way to try something new or stock up on things you already like.
Amazon First Reads
Each month, Prime members can check out Amazon First Reads. They can get two Kindle books from the selection for free. Non-Prime members can get their two books for $2 apiece.
As a reminder, you can read Kindle books even if you don’t have a Kindle. There are free reading apps available for phones and computers. We also have a buying guide to help you pick the right Kindle.
In addition to First Reads, Prime members get access to tons of Kindle books via Prime Reading. There are over a thousand items to choose from. Aside from books, you can pick from things like comics, audiobooks, and magazines.
WIRED senior editor Michael Calore mentioned Prime Reading as one of his quarantine lifesavers in a recent Gadget Lab podcast episode.
Every month, Prime members are eligible for various rewards via Twitch Prime. This includes in-game loot in a variety of popular games, free games and expansions for popular titles, and more. You also get a free Twitch subscription, which sounds like you can watch Twitch for free, but “Twitch subs” are actually subscriptions to individual Twitch streamers, and they normally cost money. With the free one you get from Amazon Prime, you can support channels that you enjoy without spending a dime (aside from the Prime membership fees.)
$10 Off Game Preorders
This discount used to be much better, but it’s still worth looking into if you are in the market for a new videogame. Occasionally Prime members can receive $10 off when they preorder a game. Eligible games show up here when they’re available.
Buying clothes online can get really annoying. Prime Wardrobe offers a selection of items that you can try online before committing to purchasing. Pick out what you want and you’ll get it for a week. If you want it, you can keep it. If it’s not a perfect fit, you can return the items for free. I prefer to use this method when items are already discounted, since the price you’ll pay if you decide to keep everything is whatever price was displayed upon checkout.
Unlimited Online Photo Storage
Prime members get access to unlimited full-resolution photo storage, and 5 GB of video storage as well. You can store, print, and share photos using the Amazon Photos app and back everything up to the cloud. If your account ever loses Prime status, your storage limits drop to 5 GB total, so this shouldn’t be your primary method of backing things up. You might want to consider using something like Google Photos too.
Discounted FreeTime Unlimited
FreeTime Unlimited is Amazon’s content service for kids. We took a look at it in our Fire Kids 7 Tablet review. The service is compatible with several iOS, Android, and Amazon devices. It essentially provides a bevy of parental controls whilst giving kiddos access to age-appropriate shows, books, games, and the like. Typically FreeTime Unlimited costs $5 per month, but Prime members can snag the subscription for $3 per month.
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