Amazon Prime is a subscription membership to Amazon that offers customers premium services for a yearly or monthly fee. In this article we will also view some Amazon Prime benefits.
For a yearly subscription fee, Amazon Prime offers reduced shipping rates, free access to Prime Video, Twitch Prime, Amazon Drive, and 30 minutes of early access to Lightning Deals. There were about 80 million subscribers to Amazon Prime as of 2017.
Free two-day shipping is the most well-known feature of Amazon Prime, but there are other Amazon-specific and partner benefits as well. For example, the free shipping promotion is available on millions of selected items with no minimum order amount. Customers who are not in a rush can choose not to receive two-day shipping in exchange for a credit that can be applied to digital purchases like ebooks and online movie rentals.
An Amazon membership includes access to Prime Video, that offers titles that are only available through Amazon. Customers can subscribe to a video game streamer’s channel for free through Twitch Prime, and many popular games also offer multiple discounts and free in-game items. A subscription to Amazon Drive provides limitless file storage and global access to those files. Students and anyone with .EDU email addresses are eligible for a lower rate on Prime Student.
Amazon Prime, a paid loyalty rewards programme, has increased the likelihood that users will make more of their purchases on the website. Amazon Prime costs $99 for a full year as of this writing. Customers can also pay monthly subscription fees or purchase certain services like Prime Video without a full membership.
Amazon Prime: Benefits that every member gets
Amazon Prime is probably best known for two things: free two-day (scratch that: one-day!) shipping and Netflix-style video streaming. Those are decidedly worthwhile perks, especially considering the relatively low $119 annual subscription charge. (In comparison, a basic Netflix subscription costs $108 all by itself). But a Prime membership affords more than just shipping and streaming. A lot more.
Here is a list of every Prime benefit, as well as a couple of Amazon services that you might have thought were free but actually cost extra. (Don’t currently have a subscription? (If you’re reading this during Prime Day season, learn how to obtain Prime Day offers without being a member.) You can sign up for Prime here, even if it’s just for a 30-day trial.
The actual number of Prime benefits is a bit shocking. Let’s start with everyone’s favorite: fast, free shipping.
Amazon Prime Shipping benefits
Free overnight shipping: In the beginning, Prime offered an excellent shipping upgrade: Free two-day delivery on many, if not most, of Amazon’s physical goods — even if it’s only one item and it only costs a few dollars. ($3 for an HDMI cable) However, earlier this year, Amazon switched to overnight shipping for millions of items, making the benefit much better. Not rushing? Look for the “no-rush delivery” option on the checkout page so you can receive a little credit (about $1) to use on digital purchases like e-books and movie rentals.
Free release-date delivery: Let’s say you order a hot new tech item or a new book from your favourite author in ahead. If you’re a Prime member, you’ll get that item the same day it’s launched, not a day or two later. Of course, only specific goods are acceptable.
Amazon Prime Shopping benefits
Free (or flat-rate) grocery and household item delivery: Prime Pantry will send products (basically anything that doesn’t need refrigeration) including toilet paper, dog food, shampoo, and your favourite cereal. However, you must spend at least $35 to receive free shipping (and it will be ground shipment, not one- or two-day). If you spend less, each order’s shipping is $5.99. The only benefit of upgrading your Prime Pantry membership for $4.99 a month is that you’ll now get free shipping with a $10 minimum purchase requirement rather than $35.
Do you own a Fire tablet, Echo, or another Alexa-enabled device? If so, say these magic words: “Alexa, what are your deals?” She will recite a list of seemingly odd Prime-only discounts while pausing after each one to inquire as to your interest in purchasing it. It’s undoubtedly not the most effective method of purchasing, especially if you decide to check online to make sure the offer is legitimate, but it’s still a Prime benefit.
5% cash back with an Amazon Prime card:
How do you score even better deals at Amazon? Sign up for one of the company’s credit cards; each offers 5% cash back on nearly every Amazon purchase. There’s the Amazon Store Card, which is good only at Amazon and offers interest-free financing on various purchases. (Right now, you can also get a $60 gift card when you sign up.) Then there’s the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, a more traditional credit card that gives you cash back for non-Amazon purchases as well.
Exclusive discounts at Whole Foods:
After Amazon bought the supermarket chain in 2017, you can now benefit from exclusive benefits and savings. Look for pricing that are mark as “Prime” when purchasing in-store, then just open the Amazon app on your phone and scan the QR code when paying. Use the aforementioned Prime Rewards Visa while you’re doing it to earn an extra 5% cash back.
Amazon Fresh: This grocery-delivery service, which predates Amazon’s ownership of Whole Foods, seemed like it was dying on the vine. But Amazon seems to be doubling down, because the previous $14.99-per-month fee for using Amazon Fresh has been eliminated. For the moment, however, it’s still available only in select areas (about 21 major markets as of this writing).
Instant reordering with Amazon Dash buttons:
In the beginning, Amazon sold physical buttons you could use to reorder various household products (such as paper towels, laundry detergent or coffee pods). But Dash buttons are now exclusively virtual, meaning you access them on your computer, mobile device, Echo Show ($128 at Amazon) or Samsung Family Hub. The functionality remains the same: one tap automatically reorders individual products.
Early access to Lightning deals:
Amazon’s Lightning deals run for limited time or while supplies last. If you’re a Prime subscriber, you get access to those deals 30 minutes ahead of nonsubscribers.
Access to Amazon Elements:
Arguably the most “meh” of all the Prime perks, Elements is an exclusive Amazon store stocked mostly with “premium” vitamins, protein powder and other supplements, plus baby wipes.
The Completion Discount:
Having a baby? If you used Amazon to create a gift registry, the Completion Discount nets you an extra 15% off any remaining items on the list (i.e., items that weren’t purchased for you).
Amazon Prime Wardrobe:
This Amazon exclusive gives you seven days to try eligible clothing, shoes and accessories at home, then send back for a full refund any items you don’t like.
Amazon Prime Streaming benefits
Unlimited Amazon video streaming: Similar to Netflix, Prime Video offers movies, TV series, and original content. It is available on the majority of game consoles, smart TVs, and nearly all mobile and streaming devices. Additionally, just like with Netflix, a lot of TV series and certain movies can be downloaded to your phone or tablet for offline watching. Here is a list of every new movie and television programme that debuted on Amazon in July 2019.
Limited music streaming: Amazon Prime Music affords unlimited, ad-free access to a song library stocked with over 2 million tracks. You can stream them to various devices, but songs can also be downloaded to your phone or tablet for offline listening. Prime Music should not be confused with Amazon Music Unlimited (see “What’s not included with Amazon Prime,” below), which offers a much larger library but costs extra. Prime subscribers do get a break on the price, though.
Unlimited photo storage:
Amazon Prime provides unlimited photo cloud storage to customers, much like Google does. For the majority of people, this means uploading images from smartphones and tablets via the Amazon Drive app. However, there is also a desktop tool (for Windows and Mac) that can archive photos from your hard drive. You also get 5GB of storage for documents and movies with Prime Photos.
Free e-books and magazines:
As part of your Prime subscription, you get access to Amazon Prime Reading, which — like a lending library — lets you borrow up to 10 titles. The catch: This particular library offers a relatively small selection, so don’t expect a lot of new titles or bestsellers. However, the magazine selection — which rotates fairly often — can be decent. Right now, for example, you can get Entertainment Weekly, Martha Stewart Living and Men’s Health, to name a few.
Free e-books, part 2:
It’s called Amazon First Reads and it works like this: Each month, Amazon editors curate upward of a dozen yet-to-be-released books and give Prime subscribers the chance to pick one of them — for free. And it’s for keeps, too; you’re not just borrowing the book.
Free Audible channels:
Amazon owns audiobook service Audible. Audible Channels is one of Prime’s best-kept secrets — a small selection of audiobooks available only to Prime members (and available only for streaming; if you want to download one, you’ll have to buy it). But speaking of secrets, these books are sort of hidden: To find them, you need to venture into the Audible app on your phone, then tap the Channels icon and scroll all the way down until you see Audiobook Collections.
Free PC games and extras:
Hardcore gamers know all about Twitch, which lets users watch and share game videos. Prime subscribers who link their Twitch and Prime accounts can get free games and in-game loot. (To access the former, you’ll need the Twitch desktop client.)
Odds and ends
Membership sharing: Do you share a household with another adult? Then you can take advantage of Amazon Households to share many of your Prime benefits with that person. Households also allows up to four teens (ages 13-17) to create their own profiles for shopping and streaming.
Amazon Prime also lets you add premium video subscriptions — HBO, Starz, Showtime and so on — to your Prime Video viewing umbrella, though it’s really just a convenience: You don’t get any discounts compared with purchasing those subscriptions separately.
What’s Benefits are not included with Amazon Prime
That’s an awful lot of Prime goodness. However, a smattering of Amazon services aren’t included with your subscription — and a few services have disappeared. For example, Amazon Restaurants, which offered GrubHub-like food delivery, was discontinued earlier this year. There’s no more free 6-month Washington Post subscription, either. Here’s a look at what costs extra — and how much extra.
Amazon FreeTime Unlimited:
A subscription service designed expressly for ages 3 to 12, FreeTime Unlimited curates kid-friendly apps, e-books, games, movies, TV shows and other content. It’s compatible with Kindles, Fire tablets and the Fire TV, and it includes parental controls for things like setting time limits, adjusting content filters, and reviewing any photos taken with the tablet. You don’t need to have a Prime subscription to get FreeTime Unlimited, but it’s cheaper: $2.99 per month for one child or $6.99 per month for up to four children. If you don’t have Prime, the service costs $4.99 and $9.99, respectively.
Kindle Unlimited — priced at $9.99 per month — appears to expand on the e-book, digital magazine and audiobook content already included in your Prime membership. It’s not actually clear just how much more content you get, so be sure to sign up for a trial first. (As it happens, Prime subscribers are currently eligible for a three-month trial at no charge.)
Amazon’s answer to Apple Music, Spotify and the like gives you access to some 50 million songs — considerably more than you get from Prime Music. If you already have a Prime subscription, adding Music Unlimited costs $7.99 per month — a few dollars less than the competition charges. However, a family plan makes it $14.99 per month whether you’re a Prime subscriber or not, and that doesn’t represent any savings over the competition. Indeed, you might want to investigate whether Amazon Music Unlimited is good deal for you before adding it to your account.
One thought on “What is Amazon Prime? Everything you need to know”
This is really helpful. Can you explain the scope of Amazon in 2023