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Amazon Prime Benefits You May Not Know About

Everyone knows about the free shipping, but you can also take advantage of reading perks, food delivery services, and more.
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Is it worth paying $99 or more per year for Amazon Prime's free 2-day shipping? Depending on how much you order from Amazon, it may be. However, Prime is more than just 2-day shipping. Membership offers a growing list of perks — and if you use them all, you're definitely getting a deal.

Here are five different categories of perks that come with your Prime membership.

Super Speedy Shipping

Free 2-Day Shipping

Free 2-day shipping is probably the best-known Amazon Prime perk. Right now, members get free 2-day shipping whenever they buy eligible items (typically those sold directly by Amazon). However, some inexpensive "add-on" items only ship with orders of $25 or more. Both products eligible for Prime shipping and add-on items are marked on the site.

SEE ALSO: 2018 Could Be HUGE for Amazon... Here's Why

Free Same-Day Delivery

What you may not know is that Amazon offers same-day delivery (and 1-day shipping) to Prime members in more than 8,000 locales. Look for items marked as such, then spend at least $35 and order before noon. You can get your shipment delivered for free by 9 pm the same day.

Prime Now

Alternatively, if you need your items even faster, you can get free 2-hour delivery with Prime Now. The service only offers a limited selection of items — which vary depending on your location — but covers the gamut of what you'd find in a typical big-box store. The highlight of Prime Now is perishables. These speedy deliveries mean you can order items like milk and eggs.

Prime Now is only available in 32 metropolitan areas in the U.S. Two-hour delivery is free (for Prime members) with orders totaling $35 or more. Smaller orders cost $4.99, and delivery within one hour is available for $7.99.

Credits for No-Rush Shipping

If you don't need your new purchases quickly, opt for no-rush shipping in exchange for a coupon. Amazon shuffles these coupons around, but frequently offers them for digital items (like eBooks) or discounts on Prime Pantry. They're nice freebies to pick up if you'll use them — and don't need your purchases immediately. Expect no-rush shipping to take up to six business days.

Prime members can get free release-date delivery on select pre-order items, like movies and video games.

Release-Date Delivery

Prime members can also get free release-date delivery on select pre-order items, like movies and video games. Release-date delivery items will arrive on your doorstep the day they're released, all without the hassle of going to a store to pick them up. If an item is eligible for release-date delivery, you'll have a special release-day shipping option when you go to check out.

All of these delivery times are guaranteed by Amazon, and if Amazon misses a delivery window, you could get a free month of Prime added to your account. The biggest drawback, however, is that you have to ask for it.


Amazon Kindle

Tons of Content

Prime Video

Want to stream audiobooks, games, TV shows, music, or movies? Amazon Prime has a large selection of all of these. Prime Video offers thousands of streaming titles, including original shows like Emmy-winner Transparent. Get more shows and movies by subscribing to premium channels such as Showtime and Starz through Amazon, sometimes at a discount from stand-alone subscription prices.

Prime Music and Audible Channels

For tunes, Prime Music offers more than a million songs and albums to stream or download. Prime members also get a selection of audiobooks and original audio programming — think podcasts — through Audible Channels. It's all ad-free, with no limit to how much subscribers can stream.

SEE ALSO: 8 Things to Know About Amazon's New Echo Devices

Reading Perks

Don't forget that Amazon originally started as an online bookstore; some great Prime perks harken back to those days. Amazon First Reads gives readers a free or reduced-price eBook every month, pulled from a selection of new releases chosen by Amazon's editors. The Prime Reading program offers an all-you-can-read eBook library that includes books, magazines, and comics. The available selection is limited, not rivaling Amazon's Kindle Unlimited eBook subscription service ($9.99 per month), but it's still a solid perk.

The Prime Reading program offers an all-you-can-read eBook library that includes books, magazines, and comics.

If you're a Prime member and an owner of a Kindle eBook reader or Fire device, you can also borrow books through the Kindle Owners' Lending Library. Like with the rest of these reading perks, a limited selection of books is available. Unlike the rest, you can only read Lending Library books with an actual Kindle or Fire device — not through the multiplatform Kindle app.

Twitch Prime

For gamers, there's Twitch Prime, which offers ad-free access to Twitch's game streaming service and lets fans keep up with esports and other game-related programming. Twitch Prime members also get a free channel subscription every month and access to exclusive game content, though what's available will vary.

Prime Photos

Prime Photos gives you a place to store and organize your photos. Since you can access it on the web or via an app for iOS and Android — and share it with five people — it's easy to coordinate a family's worth of photos.


AmazonFresh truck

Food Delivery Right to Your Door

Prime Now

Having purchased Whole Foods, Amazon offers an increasing number of ways to get the groceries you need delivered to your door — including perishables and produce. However, the company's grocery offerings are only available in select areas.

SEE ALSO: Can You Get Groceries Delivered If You Don't Live in a City?

The easiest option for groceries is one we've already mentioned: Prime Now, which brings a wide range of items to you within two hours, including groceries from Whole Foods. Tens of thousands of Prime Now items are available, but the selection varies based on location.

Prime Pantry

Prime Pantry can be useful for ordering bulky items — which Amazon usually won't offer or won't ship for free. This means you can have bottled water and soda delivered right to your doorstep instead of having to lug it there yourself. And since you can get free or discounted Prime Pantry shipping by opting for no-rush shipping at checkout, or by adding enough qualifying items to your Pantry box, the convenience may not even cost you.

But other Pantry orders have a $5.99 delivery fee. And paying extra fees is an anathema to many Prime members.

Prime Pantry can be useful for ordering bulky items — which Amazon usually won't offer or won't ship for free.

AmazonFresh

AmazonFresh is a straight-up grocery delivery service that's available to Prime members. Fresh will bring your entire shopping list to your door (same day if you order in the morning, next day otherwise), leaving it in insulated containers on your doorstep if you're out. That's definitely a dream for anyone who doesn't like trekking to the grocery store, but the convenience comes with a hefty price tag: $14.99 per month, with free delivery for orders over $50. For that price, you may decide a trip to the store isn't a big deal.

Amazon Restaurants

Don't feel like cooking? Depending on where you live, you may also be able to use Amazon's restaurant delivery service, available only to Prime members. The food typically arrives within an hour, but you must spend at least $10 (not a difficulty with most restaurants).

Access to Even More Deals

Even with Amazon's already-competitive pricing, Prime members get an edge. Members have access to Amazon's Prime Day sales, early access to Lightning Deals, 20% off preordered video games, and family discounts (like up to 20% off diapers). Prime-only coupons or discounts are also available. You don't know what you're going to get with a lot of these deals — Prime Day and Lightning Deals aren't always Amazon's best bargains — but this discount combo offers something for everyone.

SEE ALSO: This Is Everything We've Written About Amazon

Shareable Savings

If you're unsure of the value of a Prime membership, consider splitting the cost with someone else. You can share your membership with one adult living in the same household, so it can be a bargain for roommates.

Readers, is this bundle of benefits enough to make you consider signing up for Prime? If you're already a Prime subscriber, what do you think of it? Let us know in the comments below!


Contributing Writer

Originally working in IT, Elizabeth now writes on tech, gaming, and general consumer issues. Her articles have appeared in USA Today, Time, AOL, PriceGrabber, and more. She has been one of DealNews' most regular contributors since 2013, researching everything from vacuums to renters insurance to help consumers.
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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12 comments
BlueOak

To those upset or pleased with their USPS service...

That is exactly the problem with the mismanagement of USPS!

The quality of your service depends far too much on the luck of the draw as to who delivers.

We get mixed service. When it is our regular carrier, the service is excellent and reliable. However, Postal union rules mean our regular carrier who is junior status gets bumped by more senior carriers... and their service in our case is very mixed.

We can tell when we complain to our regular carrier she is just as frustrated since she has to clean up after the irregular carriers.

We regularly get others' critical mail and parcels mis-delivered at our home - like prescriptions, pension checks, etc... !?! Rather than send them back thru the chaotic USPS, we hand deliver to the rightful addressees.

avid newsreader

Totally satisfied with Amazon Prime. Our USPS delivery worker is nothing short of spectacular. Always has a smile, always delivers. We use the Amazon video service along with Netflix, plus a "stick on the wall" antenna for local channels. Saves us a bundle and we have plenty to watch. For us, it's a good deal.

mdl1atra

Been using no rush shipping and now have over $100 in digital credits for movies or kindle books. Awesome perk. And while Netflix still is better, some shows ("Marvelous Mrs Maisel") are really good.

D123

My mailman has so much time to kill. She is constantly looking for someone to talk to. Always running her mouth on her cell phone. I wish I could do that on my job. I can go run errands for 2 hours and she is still in the same townhouse court. She earns 60K per year. If you go to fedsdatacenter.com you can pull up their salaries. You will not believe how much they earn for such lousy service. Plus, they have defined pensions! I just recently bought something on Amazon. It starts at UPS. Tracked beautifully. Then it is handed over to the USPS. Suppose to come on Saturday. Then it completely drops from tracking at the USPS! Never shows up on Saturday. Nor a explanation as to where the item is.
Lastly, I think the USPS mail person is fudging her schedule. Twice my ebay purchases were showing delivered. I go to my front door. No ebay package. Then later in the day I go to the door and it is there.
Weird. Because they are faking their deliveries.

LonnieMcClure

I expect the quality of USPS delivery varies by location (or at least carrier), as my experience with it at my current address has been great. My mail carrier places my packages inside a provided storage box each time after only being told once, while UPS and Fedex will often just leave the package on my steps, right under a sign directing them to place them in the box. Also, unlike UPS, they've never left a package at my back door and then marked it as being delivered to my front door.

thisisasj

I stopped using Prime because it led me to shopping more even though I didn't need those items. I consistently had problems with shipping when I requested delivery on a Saturday or Sunday. In my area (before I moved), Amazon used a company called DHL. DHL could never manage to enter my building to leave the packages in a secure place. I'd sometimes catch them prior to delivery and have them hold the package at their office. Their office was a tiny unfurnished space in a remote business park that looked like it was hurting for tenants. Amazon then placed lockers in the supermarket around the corner. Great! Then they went up on the price of Prime and I bailed. Now where I live I occasionally shop Amazon and they deliver via USPS. On time deliveries, never a mistake. The only difference is I now have a concierge.

TZen

Definitely agree with the comments regarding the crappy service by USPS. If I'm in a mountain location, they usually don't even try to deliver the package, but let it sit in a distribution center for a few days and then return it to Amazon.

Not only should Amazon quit using USPS, it's time for USPS to be dissolved.

vannyc

I'm on my third year of Amazon Prime. And am appaled that those on public assistance receive a discount while the rest of us are faced with increasing fees. It's unfair. In addition, SmartPost shipping is a joke and a bad one at that. FexEx does a fantastic job of shipping and tracking. But when packages get handed off to the USPS, they sit for days at a USPS depot before continuing on their way. And Sunday delivery? The local delivery folks seem really upset about Sunday work and do their level best to let you know. At times driving down the street and tossing a small package in your yard or jamming a padded envelope in your rural mailbox. UPS has their own version of SmartPost and the results are similar. UPS tracks and ships to the USPS depot in a professional manner, then the USPS delays shipment which is generally untrackable. Time for Amazon to stop using the USPS for anything!!!!!!

snarminoxx

I've been a prime member for 18 years and have had excellent service throughout. Amazon's customer service has been exemplary, often giving me the benefit of the doubt when I don't technically deserve it (quickly refunding me for a LOST drone...). They are a class act in all my experience.

Twig

My Prime delivery is anything BUT, IF the USPS is involved.

Living in a rural mountain area, I am required to drive 16 miles round trip and wait in line at the post office if the item doesn't fit my oversized mailbox or the Sunday substitute "attempts" delivery.

Sometimes:
1 the orange notification form doesn't even show up and my only clue comes when I check my Amazon account
2 the box fits but the carrier must find it easier not to even bring the package
3 they leave the package on the side of the road near the mailbox!
4 it's easier to just ignore or return the purchase

The USPS is a JOKE. The local USPS bureaucracy and the policies that prevent an attractive Prime service - porch delivery - is at best passive agressive.

UPS and FedEx can find my doorstep without any problem and Amazon customer service reps regularly promise to have their "shipping department" cut the USPS out of my delivery options, yet it continues.

Shopping elsewhere has been a successful work-around.

Chin Gao

I cancelled my Prime membership, probably 8/9 years ago.
2 day Prime shipping no longer apply's, the prices are the same if not more than the local stores.

Their customer service and return policy are now terrible.
I bought a pair of shoes last November, the shoes were 40.00 regular price $63.00 (at the time).

They fit too big I tried to to return them and I was told that the shoes were on sale when I bought them and that I would have to pay the difference or return them for a refund ore store credit.

genericscissors

cancelled my membership after they up'd the monthly charge to $12.99 a mo. Shipping is really all most use and half the time, my packages never arrived on time.