At $12 a month, an Amazon Prime membership offers several convenient perks, making it one of the best subscriptions in terms of value.
For instance, the upcoming Amazon Prime Day 2021 shopping event landing June 21 and 22, is a Prime member-exclusive event. So if you want to shop during one of the biggest sales of the year, you'll need to be a member.
For most, an Amazon Prime membership costs $119 a year, but select groups are eligible for a discounted membership. Students not only get 50% off Prime memberships ($6/month), but also enjoy exclusive discounts. They can get a free six-month Prime trial here. Meanwhile, Prime is also discounted ($6/month) for qualifying customers with an EBT or Medicaid card.
With cheaper competition like Walmart+ entering the scene, you may be wondering which, if any online membership, is better for you. More than 150 million subscribers worldwide evidently think Prime is worth it, but if you're still on the fence about buying a membership, we've rounded up its many benefits below, broken down into four categories: shipping, shopping, entertainment, and services.
You might even already have Prime but aren't using it to its full advantage, in which case this list will be a nice refresher for all the benefits you should know about.
Amazon Prime Shipping perks
Free two-day shipping: The best-known perk, Amazon Prime's fast delivery service is convenient and applies to just about anything you'll need from the site. Just look for the Prime logo as you shop. Shopping on Amazon without a subscription will end up costing more and is less convenient than without a Prime membership.
Free same-day shipping: For select items, Amazon also offers free one-day or even same-day shipping. With Prime Free one-day delivery, there's no minimum purchase for eligible items to be ordered by the afternoon and get your items by 9 p.m. the next day. For same-day shipping orders, shoppers can order eligible items before noon and get them by 9 p.m. the same day. Orders placed in the afternoon arrive the next day. Check your zip code to see if same-day and one-day options are available near you.
Amazon Day scheduled deliveries: Amazon Day, available as a delivery option when you check out your shopping cart, allows you to choose any day of the week (except Sunday) to receive all of your orders at one time. Most items that are eligible for Prime's free two-day shipping and are shipped by Amazon can be ordered with Amazon Day.
You're not locked into Amazon Day for all your future orders. Whenever you check out, you can still choose whichever delivery option works best for your situation, whether that's tomorrow or in a few days on your designated Amazon Day.
No-Rush Shipping: If you can wait a few extra days for your order to arrive, you may be able to earn rewards on future purchases or receive discounts immediately. Rewards are automatically added to your account once your free No-Rush order ships and they are automatically applied to qualifying orders as well. To be clear, these offers have been sparse due to the supply-chain delays and increased demand related to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Amazon Key in-home delivery: Available in select cities and surrounding areas, secure in-home delivery on millions of eligible items is possible with the Key Smart Lock Kit, which can also be used normally to schedule home access for guests, friends, and family.
On delivery day, you'll get a notification in the morning with a four-hour delivery window for when the driver will arrive at your home. Right before the driver arrives, you'll receive an "Arriving Now" notification and can optionally watch the delivery live through the Amazon Key App.
Note: As of 5/26/20, In-Home Delivery is paused until further notice, due to concerns related to the coronavirus.
Amazon Key in-car delivery: You can also get Amazon packages securely delivered right into your vehicle when it's parked at a publicly accessible area. As of February 2020, it works with:
- Model year 2015 and newer Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC and Volvo vehicles and requires an active connected car service plan, such as OnStar and On Call
- Select Ford 2017 and later model year vehicles equipped with FordPass Connect
- Lincoln 2018 and later model year vehicles equipped with Lincoln Connect
- Select 2018 or newer Honda vehicles equipped with an active HondaLink Remote Package
- 2019 or newer Acura RDX equipped with an active AcuraLink Remote Package.
Similar to in-home delivery, you'll be able to track the delivery status in real-time.
Note: As of 5/26/20, In-Car Delivery is paused until further notice, due to concerns related to the coronavirus.
Amazon Key in-garage delivery: Yet another option is garage delivery. You'll need the Amazon Key app and Smart Garage Kit to get packages delivered directly to your garage, with the same safety precautions in place as the other Key delivery services. Eligibility for garage delivery depends on your garage door type and zip code.
Amazon Shopping Benefits
Prime Day: You have to be a Prime member to get access to the estimated million deals offered every summer on Amazon Prime Day. This year, it's taking place on June 21 and 22, and as always, we'll be covering the best Prime Day deals worth shopping. Of course, shoppers don't need to wait until Prime Day to see discounts. Amazon regularly changes prices on its products, and we gather the best deals every day.
Amazon Fresh: Amazon Fresh is now free to use with a Prime membership (it previously cost an extra $15 a month). It lets you skip the long grocery lines by shopping online and picking a delivery window that's convenient for you.
As long as your order total is more than $50, you'll get free delivery. Thanks to the Whole Foods acquisition, organic foods and Whole Foods' 365 brand products are all readily available.
Prime Now: Tens of thousands of everyday household items, grocery essentials, and Amazon products can be delivered to you in two hours or less, in select US cities. Delivery windows generally span from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., though some extend to midnight depending on the city. Check your zip code to see if Prime Now is available near you
Prime Pantry: Prime Pantry, now free and included with your Prime membership, lets you shop thousands of household essentials, many of which are not available elsewhere on Amazon. Pantry-exclusive coupons save you even more money on these items. Customers receive free shipping on all orders of $35 or more or pay a flat $6 shipping fee for each order they place.
As a non-Prime member, you can still order through Prime Pantry, but a $6 shipping fee on each order will apply.
Prime-Exclusive Discounts: Only Prime members get deals on certain products and Amazon services, such as free delivery on restaurant orders, savings on dog and pet food, and rotating deals on the latest movies and TV shows through Prime Video.
Lightning Deals Early Access: Lightning Deals are called so for a reason — they're only available for a few hours and can be snatched up quickly before the expiration time. Prime members get an extra 30 minutes to shop deals before they're officially open. Just look for the "Prime Early Access" label as you shop the page. Learn more about how to get a Lightning Deal on Prime Day here.
Prime Wardrobe: Prime Wardrobe lets you try on and purchase new styles with little hassle. Choose up to eight items across the women's, men's, children's, and baby clothes, shoes, and accessories categories. Then, you'll have seven days to try them at home and decide what you want to keep. Check out online, then return your unwanted items for free using the resealable box and prepaid shipping label.
If you want a more personalized experience, you can try Personal Shopper by Prime Wardrobe, which costs $5/month.
Free standard shipping on Shopbop, East Dane, and Woot!: The shipping benefits extend past Amazon.com. Shopbop is an online destination for luxury and designer clothes, shoes, bags, and accessories, East Dane is its menswear counterpart, and Woot! is an Amazon-owned startup that hosts daily flash deals on discounted products. Log in with your Amazon account on these sites to get your shipping perk.
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card: the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card gets you:
- 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market
- 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores
- 1% back on all other purchases
You'll get a $70 Amazon.com gift card instantly upon approval, and you can redeem your points on Amazon as well as for cash back, gift cards, and travel.
Amazon Prime Entertainment
Prime Video: Stream from a large library of movies and TV shows for free, including Amazon Originals content, and rent the latest releases for low prices. Prime members can also subscribe to over 100 channels (and only pay for the channels they want), including HBO, Showtime, and CBS All Access.
Prime Music: Prime Music lets you listen to 2 million songs ad-free and on-demand, while Amazon Music Unlimited ($8/month) expands the library to 60 million songs and lets you download them for offline listening on any device.
Prime Reading: Prime members can choose up to 10 titles at a time from more than 1,000 options. The title will be available to read on any of your devices via the Kindle app and some books also come with Audible narration.
Free eBooks: Get free, early access to one Kindle book from a selection of editors' picks each month or shop the hardcover version for $10 or less. Available genres include contemporary fiction, thriller, science fiction, and memoir.
Prime Gaming: The service, formerly known as Twitch Prime, offers Amazon Prime subscribers a free Twitch channel subscription, free games, free add-on content to games, and a Prime-exclusive chat badge.
Amazon FreeTime Unlimited: FreeTime Unlimited offers unlimited access to 13,000 kids' books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games. For Prime members, it's $3/month for a single child or $7 for a family of up to four children. Parents can set controls like time limits and content filters, and personalize the experiences of each child profile. It's available on Fire Tablets (books, videos, apps), Kindle eReaders (books), and Android phones and tablets (books, videos).
Prime Book Box: Prime Book Box is a children's book subscription that delivers two hardcover books or four board books to kids up to 12 years old. The book selections are popular reader favorites or Amazon Book Editor-approved, so your child can enjoy both classics and new releases.
Parents can handle preferences like delivery schedule and preview the book options (or let them be a surprise). Each box costs $20/month (your first box is $17/month) and all boxes ship for free.
Other Amazon Prime services
Amazon Photos: You can save and share unlimited photos across desktop, mobile, and tablet, and share unlimited photo storage with up to five people. You'll also get 5 GB for videos and files. Amazon Photos comes pre-installed on Amazon devices, so you can also view your photos from your Fire TV and Echo Show.
After you turn your photos into prints and other photo gifts through Amazon Prints, you get free standard and expedited shipping.
Prime Household: Two adults and up to four teens and four child profiles may link in a 'Household,' allowing everyone in the family to enjoy Prime benefits like free shipping, Prime Video, and Prime Photos and share content like ebooks, audiobooks, apps, and games.
Another benefit of linking accounts is that adults can approve orders before they're placed (for teens) and set parental controls on digital content (for kids).
How to sign up for Amazon Prime
Signing up for an Amazon Prime membership is easy. You can even try Amazon Prime for free for a month. After which, the cost of Amazon Prime depends on what plan you choose:
- Amazon Prime yearly subscription: If you opt for a full year, you'll pay an annual fee of $119.
- Amazon Prime monthly subscription: You can also pay $12.99 a month.
- Prime Student: If you're a student with a valid school email address, you can get a six-month trial of Prime Student and then pay 50% less than other Prime users ($6.49/month) after the trial ends.
For what it's worth, we highly recommend paying the annual fee. Opting for the steeper, upfront cost will save you about $37 over the monthly price.