By now, you’ve surely heard of Amazon Prime. It’s the retail giant’s paid membership that’s best known for its speedy shipping services. Packages will arrive at your doorstep in two days max—or as soon as that night.
Catering to the subset of online shoppers who buy often and want their goods delivered ASAP, Amazon launched its Prime service in 2005. Paying $119 a year for free two-day shipping may not be a great deal if you don’t shop much. But that’s not all a Prime membership will get you. As well as the all-important free two-day shipping, Prime provides its members with one-day shipping for $3.99 free streaming TV and movies, and so much more.
Millions of people currently reap the benefits of Prime. If you’re one of them, or you’re considering signing up, the following tips will help you maximize the rewards. Read on to learn all about the wealth of offerings that Amazon’s paid membership gets you, and how to get the most out of your subscription.
Amazon Prime Shipping
The most widely known benefit of Amazon prime is, of course, its rapid shipping. Known as “Prime” shipping, this membership perk gets you free 2-day shipping on all eligible Amazon products. Prime members also have access to ultra-expedited, 1 day shipping on over 10 million items. Better yet, more than 3 million items qualify for same day delivery, as long as you meet Amazon’s $35 order minimum. A package ordered in the morning could arrive on your doorstep that night.
Amazon delivers on its lofty 2-day shipping goal thanks to their enormous network of Amazon warehouses. These 50+ warehouses are placed strategically across the US. While anyone can start an Amazon business, only products that are fulfilled by Amazon are available in Amazon warehouses. These contain a stockpile of the most commonly ordered Amazon items and are staffed by employees who work around the clock to ensure your product is delivered in a 48-hour window.
When a Prime-eligible product is ordered, Amazon sources it from the nearest Amazon warehouse. It’s then packaged, placed on an Amazon truck, and delivered to your house by the deadline.
Amazon Shopping Benefits
Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer—and it’s no wonder why. Amazon offers some of the most competitive shopping benefits and largest selection of items for sale in the world. Use the following tips to get the most out of the company’s benefits and reap the rewards of your membership.
Qualify for Amazon Prime Discounted Memberships
A standard Amazon Prime membership costs $119 per year, or $12.99 each month if you’d rather pay in installments. However, in some scenarios, you may be able to get your membership at a discount—or even for free.
- EBT or Medicaid card holders: If you have a valid EBT or Medicaid card, you can get access to Amazon Prime for only $5.99 each month
- Students: If you’re a student, you can get a free, 6-month trial of Amazon Prime; once your trial is up, you can have access to Prime membership at $6.49 each month
Take Advantage of Prime Deals at Whole Foods Market
Prime shopping benefits extend beyond Amazon’s dot com site. Prime members get exclusive discounts when shopping both online and in-store at Whole Foods Markets.
Try on at Home with Prime Wardrobe
Looking for a new wardrobe but hate the unknown of online shopping? Amazon’s Prime membership solves that problem with Prime Wardrobe. This service allows you to order clothing, shoes, jewelry, and accessories without paying upfront. Try on the clothes at home, send whatever you don’t want back, and only pay for the items that you decide to keep.
Bookmark the Daily Deals
Every day, Amazon offers exclusive deals for Amazon Prime members. Prices are slashed in every single department—home and kitchen, electronics and accessories, toys, kids, babies, and more. Everything from digital cameras to lawnmowers can be found at reduced prices.
Plus, Amazon offers Prime members 30-minute early access to Lightning Deals, a promotion in which a limited number of discounts are offered on an item for a short period. Here’s the thing: you need to act fast to grab the discounts. Each deal is available in limited quantities, and when it’s gone, it’s gone. Add the deals page to your bookmarks and sign up to receive daily deal emails.
The mother of all Amazon deals is Prime Day, a single day devoted to Amazon Prime deals. If you want to take full advantage of this once-a-year event, do your research ahead of time and make sure you have the best Prime Day credit card.
Use third-party price monitoring websites
Long-time Prime user Mark Lindsey’s pick is camelcamelcamel.com, which provides price histories and sends email alerts when an item of interest is discounted. Other options include Honey, Timberfrog, and Price!pinx. Some of these services may be able to be installed directly into your Firefox or Chrome browser.
Amazon’s most recent foray is their takeover of the entertainment world with the introduction of Amazon Entertainment. Though its TV and moving streaming service was originally introduced in February 2011, it has grown exponentially in the past several years. It’s now a rival to media conglomerates like Netflix and Hulu.
Delve into Amazon.com’s video offerings
Through Prime Video and Prime Video Channels, Amazon Prime membership offers free movie and TV streaming, complementary with Prime membership. Furthermore, Prime Video Channels allows you access to premium channels like HBO, Showtime, and STARZ at between $4.99 and $14.99 a month, with no additional apps to download.
Not only does Amazon offer popular movies and TV shows (for instance, it’s the only place you can stream Lord of the Rings), but Amazon also produces original content available only with an Amazon Prime membership. Its in-house production company, known as Amazon Studios, was started in late 2010.
Listen to Amazon Music
Amazon has a vast music library of tens of millions of songs. Prime members have access to a portion of these, available for listening on any Echo device, at no cost. Plus, Prime members get discounted rates on Amazon Music Unlimited—Amazon’s entire music library.
Game with Prime Gaming
Gamers can benefit from an Amazon Prime membership, too. Prime Gaming gains you access to free games and in-game content every month. Plus, get a monthly Twitch channel subscription for free and exclusive promotions on new games. With Prime’s free release-date delivery, you can order and receive new video games by 7 PM on release day.
Other Amazon Prime Advantages
Prime benefits don’t stop there. Make sure you’re getting the absolute most out of your yearly membership price with the following.
Go Old School with Prime Reading
Did you know that Amazon was originally a bookstore? Amazon’s reading benefits hearken back to their bookstore roots. Prime Reading provides members with unlimited access to more than a thousand magazines, comics, eBooks, and more. You don’t need a Kindle to read these; they can be accessed on any device.
Plus, through Amazon First Reads, each Prime member can download one editors’ pick book each month before the official release date.
Recruit a Friend
Prime members can share their accounts with one other adult, which means free membership for a person of your choosing. To sign them up, go to the Prime Membership management section of your Amazon account settings. Note that student and EBT/Medicaid members cannot share accounts with any other individuals.
Think beyond the last-minute buy
The ability to make frequent small purchases and be assured of their swift arrival is a key benefit of Prime. Many a Prime user has been saved by the fast, free expedited shipping after remembering a birthday or anniversary in the nick of time. But for household products such as cleaning supplies and toiletries, it’s often cheaper to plan ahead and buy in bulk.
Amazon’s Subscribe and Save feature allows you to place a recurring order for an item and choose the frequency for its delivery. You’ll save 15 percent off the price and won’t have to worry about stocking up. As another veteran Prime user Mark Zembrzuski notes, “Nothing says you’re living the high life like coming home to 48 rolls of toilet paper.”
If you haven’t yet signed up for Prime, Amazon is currently offering a one-month free trial. To register, visit amazon.com/prime.