If you aren't already one of the roughly 65 million people with an Amazon Prime membership, you might want to join the club. Making the leap unlocks massive benefits that go way beyond free two-day shipping.
From total costs to hidden programs to perks you didn't know existed, here's a comprehensive breakdown of what it means to be an Amazon Prime member.
What is Amazon Prime?
Amazon Prime is a membership service that gives customers free two-day shipping on millions of items, free streaming music and video-on-demand, unlimited photo storage and numerous other perks which you can read more about below.
This is a big upgrade since the 2005 launch of Amazon Prime. What started as a basic fee-based membership program for quick online deliveries has grown by leaps and bounds over the last decade. Depending on where you live, you can take advantage of free same-day delivery and grocery deliveries via AmazonFresh.
How Much is Amazon Prime?
A yearly plan will cost you $99, or you can opt to pay $10.99 on a month-to-month basis. The math is on your side if you go with an annual plan, saving you almost $33 for a year of service. Either way though, you can try Amazon Prime before you buy with their free 30-day trial.
Amazon Student offers a 50% discount on Prime to anyone who is actively enrolled in at least one U.S.-based college course and has a valid .edu email address. This translates to full Prime access for just $49 per year. The kicker? Amazon Student throws in a free six-month trial period.
One other note about the cost of Amazon Prime membership; history has shown that Amazon tends to drop the price to coincide with promotional events. The fee went down to $79 when it launched its original series "The Grand Tour." Shortly after, Amazon celebrated its double win at the 73rd Annual Golden Globes by slashing Amazon Prime fees to just $73.
How to Share Amazon Prime
You're allowed to share all your Amazon Prime benefits with another adult and up to four kids, free of charge, as long as they live with you. Both adults just have to link up their accounts via Amazon Household. This lets each person keep their personal account private without having to pay for two Prime memberships. The only downside is that you also have to sync up your payment information.
How to Cancel Amazon Prime
You can cancel your Amazon Prime membership at any time. Head to "Your Account," then go to "Manage Your Prime Membership" and click "End Membership." (FYI, If you haven't used any benefits, you can get a full refund.)
Amazon Prime Return Policy
Amazon makes returns relatively easy. You can send back the majority of new, unopened items within 30 days of delivery for a full refund, as long as they're sold and fulfilled by Amazon. (Third-party sellers may be a different story.) Amazon also offers extended return times for holiday shopping; deliveries made between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31 can be returned through the end of January. You can coordinate returns and exchanges on Amazon's return page.
What Comes with Amazon Prime?
Free Two-Day Shipping on Most Items
This is probably the most famous Prime perk. Prime members can take advantage of free two-day shipping on eligible items with no minimum order requirement. Eligible items are marked with a little Prime logo next to the price tag and don't include third-party sellers.
Amazon Prime Music
Prime membership comes with access to a huge (and free) music library that you can stream on multiple devices. Amazon Prime Music features more than 2 million ad-free songs. Additionally, you can upgrade to Amazon Music Unlimited for $7.99 per month, which unlocks tens of millions of songs.
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon puts out some fantastic original series, including "Man In the High Castle," "Transparent" and more. Prime membership comes with access to all of them, plus thousands of other movies and TV episodes. The video streaming service now provides premium subscription add-ons, so Prime members can choose from 30 different add-on channels including HBO, Showtime and Starz.
So how do you watch Amazon TV shows and other video content? You can easily stream it using a smart TV, Fire tablet, Roku, PlayStation 3 or 4, Xbox One, iPhone, iPad or Fire phone.
Amazon Prime Cloud Storage & Amazon Prints
Free up space on your devices by uploading files to Amazon Drive. The mobile app makes it especially easy to backup photos, videos and more, instantly decluttering your phone. Amazon Prime comes with 5GB of free, accessible storage. What's more, you can share and store unlimited photos with up to five people using Prime Photos Family Vault.
Amazon Drive's platform also doubles as a photo printing service. Amazon Prints, similar to Shutterfly or Snapfish, can print single photos, photo books, calendars and the like.
Amazon Prime Reading
Bookworms will be right at home with Amazon Prime Reading. Membership includes unlimited access to more than a thousand books, audiobooks, magazines, comics and more, which you can access on multiple devices. You can also borrow titles via your Fire tablet, Kindle or Kindle reading app.
Access to Audible Originals
This perk, which is $60 a year for non-Prime members, comes free and earns you unlimited access to Audible Channels for Prime.This includes original audio series, popular audiobooks and more. Simply download the free app and you're good to go.
Perks for Gamers
Video game lovers who sign up for Amazon Prime get 20% off new titles with launch-day delivery. The discount can be used up to two weeks after a newly released game comes out, and also applies to pre-orders. Have a Twitch.tv account? Sync it up with Amazon Prime and cash in on free in-game content, exclusive discounts and other gaming perks with Twitch Prime.
No-Rush Shipping = Free Promotional Credits
Amazon Prime members have the option of selecting no-rush shipping at checkout, which snags you either an order discount or a promotional reward you can use on a future purchase. It's a great way to save if you don't need your item(s) right away.
Amazon Prime Early Access
Prime members have a leg up when it comes to Amazon's Lightning Deals. Thanks to Prime Early Access, you can shop these top deals half an hour before they're open to non-Prime members.
Checking out with the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card will get you 5% cash back across various categories. The savings are even better if you opt for the Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, which comes with a free $70 gift card if you're approved, along with other cash back opportunities.
A Month of Free Prime Membership for Failed Deliveries
If Amazon botches a delivery (i.e. it comes late or not at all), they'll extend your Prime membership by one month for free. You can get one Prime extension per month for monthly members or 12 per year for annual members.
Access to Amazon Prime Day
Amazon heavily touts Prime Day, which takes place every July, as its biggest shopping event of the year. It's exclusive to Prime members and offers up a variety of deals. In some cases, you can snag discounts that surpass Black Friday and Cyber Monday -- if you know where to look.
This program, free with Prime, doles out 20% savings on all diaper subscriptions. You can also expect regular coupons and discounts on baby food, clothing, toys and games, groceries and more, all tailored to your family profile. Amazon Family will also get you up to 15% off eligible baby registry items.
Additional Amazon Prime Programs
Tacking on an additional $14.99 per month to your Prime membership will grant you access to AmazonFresh, Amazon's grocery delivery and pickup service. The program, which you can try free for 30 days, is currently available in Northern and Southern California, New York, Seattle and Philadelphia.
Amazon Prime Now
This Prime benefit provides free two-hour delivery of select Amazon items, and one-hour delivery in select cities for a $7.99 fee. This extends beyond Amazon and into local restaurants and stores. Amazon PrimeNow isn't available everywhere, but is active in a growing number of cities. Enter your zip code here to see if you qualify.
Amazon Prime Pantry
Prime Pantry can best be described as Amazon's online grocery store for Prime members. It offers up a huge variety of items with free shipping if you order five qualifying items or more. Otherwise, Amazon charges a flat $5.99-per-box delivery fee.
Amazon FreeTime Unlimited
This Prime program offers unlimited access to tens of thousands of popular kid-friendly shows, movies, games, apps and books via Kindle eReaders, Fire TV and Fire Tablets. Amazon FreeTime Unlimited starts at just $2.99 per month, which might be a good deal for cord-cutters with kids.
Add a Comment