Should You Join Amazon Prime? Here's Everything You Need to Know

Amazon offers a dizzying array of services. Our guides will help you learn about all the perks, pitfalls, and alternatives.
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Amazon is absolutely huge. According to Thinknum, "about half of every dollar spent online in the U.S." is spent on Amazon, and there are over 100 million Prime members. Maybe you're thinking of joining up?

We've taken a deep dive into the world of Amazon to help you decide whether Prime is right for you. Check out all our guides to setting up Amazon Prime, using Amazon shipping services, contacting Amazon customer service, and more.

Amazon logo

All Your Amazon Questions, Answered

Amazon is so big, you almost have to learn another language to understand all your shopping options. Check out our massive Amazon Q&A, which answers questions like these:

  • Can you get free Amazon Prime?

  • How do you set up an Amazon Household?

  • How does Amazon Prime 2-day shipping work?


SHOPPING? See the latest Amazon deals!

woman shopping online

When Is Amazon Prime Day 2019?

In 2015, Amazon celebrated its 20th anniversary by hosting an event called "Prime Day." The tradition has continued every summer since then, growing more popular every year.

Amazon always says Prime Day deals will "rival Black Friday." Shoppers tend to be split on whether the savings are actually good. Still, there are always a few treasures worth checking out. Learn more about Amazon Prime Day 2019.


Amazon Prime Day 2019 could last a solid 40 hours, or even a full week.


Mother and child shopping online

How Much Is Amazon Prime?

The standard Amazon Prime fee is $119 per year, or $12.99 per month. You'll pay about $9.92 each month on the annual plan.

However, college students can get Prime Student at the discounted price of $59 per year (or $6.49 per month). That's about half the cost of a standard Prime plan. Learn more about Amazon Prime prices.


Amazon Services Not Included With Prime

Amazon offers several stand-alone services. While Prime members can get a discount on some (but not all) of these programs, you'll still be adding an extra fee onto your Prime membership. For your convenience, we've listed these "extra" Amazon services in the table below.

Amazon Service Price Prime Price
Amazon Music Unlimited $3.99 to $14.99 per month $79 to $149 per year
AmazonFresh N/A $14.99 per month
Audible $14.95 to $22.95 per month N/A
Kindle Unlimited $9.99 per month N/A
FreeTime Unlimited $4.99 to $9.99 per month $2.99 to $6.99 per month


free button on keyboard

5 Ways to Get Free Amazon Prime (at Least for Awhile)

Not sure if Amazon Prime is right for you? Here's a few ways you can get Amazon Prime for free while you try it out. Check out our guide for the full list!

  1. Sign up for an Amazon Prime free trial.

  2. Do a free Amazon Prime Student trial.

  3. Try Sprint's Unlimited Premium plan.


Amazon Household lets you share Prime benefits with your family, so you won't have to purchase extra subscriptions.


Amazon Prime on a tablet

7 Ways to Score Deals on Amazon Prime Membership

With the Amazon Prime price currently set at $12.99 per month or $119 per year, maybe you're wondering how to get Prime for less. We've got you covered with these creative ways to secure an Amazon Prime membership discount. Check out our guide for the full list!

  1. Confirm your EBT eligibility.

  2. Create an Amazon Household.

  3. Enroll in the monthly Prime plan.


SHOPPING? See the latest Amazon deals!

woman receiving delivery

How to Get Free Shipping on Amazon

Any customer can shop on Amazon and receive free shipping. To do so, you just need to look for products that have "FREE Shipping" noted next to the price. (Yep, it's in all caps.) Then, add at least $25 worth of eligible items to your cart.

However, there are quite a few caveats that come with Amazon free shipping. Learn more here.


Free 2-day shipping is the perk that sold most of us on Amazon Prime membership in the first place. It's changed a little over the years, though. For instance, the 2-day delivery guarantee doesn't kick in until your item actually leaves the warehouse.

This sort of makes sense, though: If your item is temporarily out of stock, you're not getting it in two days.

Amazon package on porch

Amazon Prime Shipping Is the Perk We Love to Hate

Prime members receive free 2-day shipping on eligible items shipped to addresses in the 48 contiguous United States (Alaska and Hawaii are out of luck). Here are a few things to keep in mind when using Prime shipping:

  • Note the order cutoff time when making a purchase — this can affect your delivery date.

  • Not all shipping speeds will be available for all items and/or all addresses.

  • Orders over $1,300 might require a signature.


Do you believe that '2-day shipping' means you'll receive your items within two days? You might be wrong.


man wearing headphones

Amazon Prime Music vs. Other Streaming Services: How Do They Compare?

Amazon Prime Music is a free service that's included with your Prime membership, whether you're an annual or monthly subscriber. It offers over 2 million songs for streaming online or via your Alexa device.

The selection varies, but Prime Music does include recent and popular albums. There are even curated lists designed to add ambiance to a dinner party or help you sleep better. Learn more about Amazon Prime Music.


Amazon Music Unlimited Plan Prices

You can choose from four different Amazon Music Unlimited plans to fit your needs.

Plan Type Monthly Price
Individual $7.99 with Prime, or $9.99
Family $14.99
Student $4.99
Single Device $3.99


Amazon box close up

30 Amazon Prime Benefits You Should Be Using

While the price of Amazon Prime has increased over the years, so too have the perks that come with it. If you're on the fence about signing up for a Prime membership, check out our guide to all the Prime benefits you get. Learn about bonuses like these:

  • Free same-day delivery to select cities

  • Prime Day, a members-only sale event

  • A free year of Nintendo Switch Online


Video stores may be almost defunct, but Prime members can enjoy a variety of titles at no additional cost. Not a Prime member? If all you want is Amazon's catalog of TV shows, movies, and original series, you can spring for a stand-alone Prime Video subscription for less than $10 per month.

Prime video app and other streaming apps

Your Complete Guide to Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Prime Video is included with Prime membership, though you can also purchase a stand-alone subscription for $8.99 per month. It provides access to movies and TV shows — including Prime Originals — at no additional cost. Read all about Prime Video here.


How Much Does Prime Video Cost?

If you decide to buy content through Prime Video, it'll cost you more than just the subscription price. Here's what you can expect to pay.

Prime Video Content Price
Prime Video stand-alone subscription $8.99 per month
Individual episodes not included in Prime $1.99 to $4.99 per episode
Individual seasons not included in Prime $2.99 to $38.99 per season


woman reading on Kindle

What Is Amazon Prime Reading?

Amazon Prime Reading offers Prime members unlimited reading opportunities, with access to over a thousand free eBooks, magazines, comics, Kindle Singles, and other types of material. You can read anytime and anywhere, thanks to the Kindle app.

Looking for a wider selection? Kindle Unlimited offers a ton of freedom — for a price. Members get access to over a million books, thousands of Audible audiobooks, and current issues of popular magazines. Learn more about Prime Reading.


SHOPPING? See the latest Amazon deals!

Amazon Prime Now app

What Is Amazon Prime Now?

Prime Now is Amazon's 2-hour delivery service that's exclusively available for Prime members. First launched in Manhattan in 2014, Prime Now is currently available in more than 50 U.S. cities.

To place an order, you'll need to use the stand-alone Prime Now site or app — not Amazon.com. Just browse, select what you want, choose a 2-hour delivery window, and then local Prime Now couriers will head your way. Click here to see if Prime Now is available in your area.


Prime Now is Amazon's 2-hour delivery service that's exclusively available for Prime members.


Prime Pantry on tablet

Never Run Out of Toilet Paper Again! How to Use Prime Pantry

Amazon Prime Pantry is a subscription service that allows Prime members to shop for a variety of groceries and household products. The items come in the same sizes you'd find at your local store.

Though Prime Pantry is one of the benefits of Prime membership, it does have drawbacks. Here are four downsides of the service:

  1. You have to pay extra.

  2. Prime members can't count on 2-day shipping.

  3. Your orders will get split up.

  4. Lots of delivery exclusions apply.


Prime Now is a handy service, but it's only available in certain areas. If you live in one of the more than 50 eligible cities, you can get 2-hour delivery for items from a variety of categories.

Amazon on mobile

How Do I Find Amazon Coupons?

Did you know Amazon has a page where they list all the available coupons? You can browse by department, and filter the results by most popular, expiring soon, or even discount percentage.

Offers change all the time, but here are a few examples of the Amazon coupons we found:

  • Up to $3 off women's disposable razors

  • $10 off a Philips Sonicare toothbrush

  • 20% off throw pillow covers


How Good Are Amazon Lightning Deals?

Amazon Lightning Deals can leave you with no time to do price research. How can you be sure you're not getting a dud? In the table below, we've listed some products that commonly appear as Lightning Deals, along with their typical discounts.

Product Regular Price Lightning Deal Price
Queen Bedspread $54 $24
Amazon Echo $149.99 $69.99
65" 4K UHD TV $999.99 $499.99
Label Maker $30 $9.99
Instant Pot 8-Qt. $179.95 $119.95


cheering man

The Expert Guide to Buying Amazon Lightning Deals

Amazon Lightning Deals are limited-time promotions that are further limited to one per customer. The items have set quantities, so Lightning Deals end when the promotion period runs out or the item sells out, whichever comes first.

You can find Amazon Lightning Deals throughout the site, but they're all listed in the Today's Deals section. They can also be found on the Prime Day page during that big event. Read all about Amazon Lightning Deals.


SHOPPING? See the latest Amazon deals!

Amazon packages in mailbox

What Are Amazon Add-On Items?

Add-on items are smaller products offered at very affordable prices — usually under $10. But there's a catch: you'll need to spend a minimum of $25 to have them shipped to you. They're marked with a blue "Add-on item" banner.

Prime members will receive Prime shipping benefits for Add-on items when they order more than $25 worth of Prime-eligible products. Check out our guide to Amazon Add-on items.


Add-on items usually cost less than $10 each, but you'll need to spend $25 total to get them.


Woman looking in box

Your Guide to Getting Free Stuff on Amazon

Aside from free trials, you can snag free things on Amazon if you take advantage of its promotional credits. Sadly, there isn't a handy page that lists all of the current offers.

But if you know where to look, you can spot these freebies when you're shopping. Here's a sampling of ways to get free Amazon credits:

  • Shop for 'Great on Kindle' eBooks.

  • Use the Amazon Trade-In program.

  • Choose Prime no-rush shipping.


Getting free stuff on Amazon goes beyond free trials for different services. You can also score free credits that help you save on Amazon devices or digital media. And don't forget about giveaways! You can enter tons of sweepstakes every day.



How to Win Amazon Giveaways (and Get Free Stuff!)

Did you know that America's biggest online retailer also plays host to tons of giveaways every day? To enter an Amazon giveaway, you'll need to either click on a box image, watch a short video, or follow someone on Amazon Follow.

Keep reading to learn more about the Amazon Giveaway program.


SHOPPING? See the latest Amazon deals!

boxes on factory line

Can You Share Amazon Prime?

Yes, you can. Amazon Prime members have the ability to set up an Amazon Household, which makes it easy to share Prime with family. You can set up a Household with friends or roommates, too.

For all the Prime benefits you can share, there are a few that aren't included. Amazon Households can't share the following benefits:

  • Prime Music

  • Exclusive promotions on eligible pre-order games

  • Purchased video subscriptions


If you have an 'adult' account, you'll have to approve Prime orders made by 'teen' accounts in your Amazon Household.


mother and child on laptop

How to Set Up Your Amazon Household

Amazon used to make it easy to share Prime benefits with a few friends or extended family members. However, in 2015 the online retailer revamped Prime to focus more on those members who were sharing a roof. Now, forming an Amazon Household is the easiest way to share Amazon Prime with your family.

Check out our Amazon Household guide to learn how to create yours!


Amazon Prime is expensive, but at least you can share it with your family. You can also share Prime with your friends and roommates, though Amazon Households are definitely geared toward families. Each Household can have two "adults," up to four "teens," and up to four "kids."

pile of phones

Will Amazon Trade-In Give You a Fair Price?

Go to Amazon's Trade-In page and select the items you want to sell. Don't see your product? Click "Find more items" to search. You'll answer a few questions about your device's condition, then Amazon will give you a trade-in value range. The amount you'll actually get depends on the condition of the item (which Amazon decides).

Amazon accepts a wider range of trade-in items than other companies, and your payment can show up instantly as a credit. Learn all about Amazon Trade-In.


SHOPPING? See the latest Amazon deals!

used textbooks

Is Amazon Textbook Buyback Worth the Hassle?

While Amazon Textbook Buyback used to be a stand-alone service, the megaretailer now accepts textbooks through the Amazon Trade-In program. Selling your books works just like selling your electronics. Here's the process:

  1. Go to Amazon's Trade-In page.

  2. Scroll down to "Other Trade-In Categories."

  3. Enter the textbook's ISBN.
If nothing comes up in your ISBN search, Amazon isn't buying that specific book.


In rare cases, Amazon packages will show as 'delivered' in the app up to 36 hours prior to their actual arrival.


Man wincing at phone

Yikes! What to Do When Your Amazon Package Is Missing

Most Amazon orders are trackable once the packages have shipped. The only real exception should be standard international shipments that aren't fulfilled by Amazon Global.

Now that Amazon packages are trackable to within minutes of delivery, one lost parcel can seem like a mystery worthy of a podcast. Before you freak out, check out our guide for what to do when your Amazon package never arrives.


Doing anything other than shopping at Amazon can be daunting, thanks to its massive selection and tons of services. But if you're trying to contact customer service or cancel your Prime membership, using Amazon can be downright frustrating.

woman on the phone

Is Amazon Customer Service Ever Helpful?

Tracking down the right link to contact Amazon customer service can be difficult. Here's how you can quickly get in touch with a representative:

  1. Log in to your Amazon account.

  2. Scroll all the way down the homepage.

  3. Under "Let Us Help You," click "Help."

  4. Under "Browse Help Topics," click "Need More Help?"

  5. Click "Contact Us."


SHOPPING? See the latest Amazon deals!

man looking at computer screen

How to Cancel Amazon Prime in Just 7 Steps

Looking to end your Amazon Prime membership? In short, you should navigate to the "Your Account" page on Amazon, click the Prime box, and then scroll down to find a link that says "End Membership and Benefits."

Need more help? Here's a guide to help you cancel Amazon Prime in just a few steps.

Senior Staff Writer

Julie joined DealNews in 2015. Her work has been featured on MSN, Business Insider, Lifehacker, The Motley Fool, GoBankingRates, and Moneyish. In her spare time, she enjoys baking sweets, reading thrillers, and listening to an ever-growing list of podcasts.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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1 comment
jb_mn
Try it before you buy it......Prime was no longer worth it to our family plus Amazon is almost never the lowest price. If you're a lazy shopper and you just want the item somewhere around your doorstep in about a week then go for it. When we used it almost nothing seemed to qualify for Prime so proceed with caution before you buy the membership. You might also consider how poorly they treat their employees before you give them your hard earned cash!