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What Is Amazon Prime: All of the Benefits You Get With a Membership

What do you get with Amazon Prime? From Dash Buttons to diaper discounts, here's everything you can do, read, watch, and save on with Prime.
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Amazon Prime

What Is Amazon Prime?

When Amazon Prime launched in 2005, the $79 yearly fee gave members two-day shipping on select items. Amazon has since expanded to video, audio, and even food delivery, and the subscription service — which recently increased to $119 annually and has more than 100 million members — offers a lot more perks. Is Prime membership worth it? Below is a guide to what a Prime membership includes, so you can decide if it's right for you.

What Do You Get With Amazon Prime?

Free Shipping

The most well-known perk of an Amazon Prime membership is free two-day shipping on more than 100 million eligible items, designated by a Prime logo on the product page and at checkout. Currently, items with the Prime logo that say "FREE Same-Day" are eligible for free same-day delivery in more than 8,000 cities and towns with qualifying orders of at least $35. In most cases, if you place the order before noon, same-day delivery items will arrive before 9 pm.

SEE ALSO: The Price of Amazon Prime Is Going Up (Again)

Can't wait for that new record, book, or game? Release-date delivery by 7 pm is free for Amazon Prime members.

If you're not in a hurry for an item, opting for no-rush shipping can get promotional rewards applied to your account. Incentives may include coupons for eBooks or Prime Pantry.

Prime Now

Amazon Prime members in certain ZIP codes can score free two-hour delivery of tens of thousands of items — including groceries and electronics — by using the website or mobile app. Delivery from local restaurants is even available in certain areas. It's not uncommon to see discount codes for your first order. At the time of this writing, first-time Prime Now shoppers could get up to $15 off their first three orders via the coupon code "SAVE15".

Prime Pantry

Prime members have access to Prime Pantry, so instead of ordering shampoo or cereal in bulk, you can order items one at a time, as you would when grocery shopping. The service has recently changed to a subscription-based model, and members can pay $4.99 per month to get free shipping on Pantry orders of at least $40. Otherwise, you can pay a flat shipping rate of $7.99 per order. Like grocery stores, Prime Pantry also has coupons and deals. Box sizes vary, but they can hold up to 45 pounds. Items are shipped via ground and may take one to four business days to arrive.

AmazonFresh

AmazonFresh, available in select cities, costs an additional $14.99 per month after a 30-day free trial. Still, the grocery delivery service is accessible only to Prime members.

Fresh items arrive in insulated reusable totes, and customers can select delivery times.

What's the difference between Pantry and Fresh? Pantry delivers nonperishables, like boxed items and canned goods, whereas Fresh options encompass groceries such as fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, frozen goods, and prepared meals. Fresh items also arrive in insulated reusable totes, and customers can select delivery times.

Delivery is not free (as it is with Prime Now) unless you spend over $50 on your order; otherwise, delivery is an additional $9.99. A pickup option for Prime members who don't necessarily have AmazonFresh is also available in Seattle.

Dash Buttons

Prime members can order common household items by pressing Amazon Dash Buttons. Once you order a button for a product, such as detergent or a snack food, for $4.99, that amount is credited to your account for a subsequent order. (You must register your Dash button to receive the credit.) Thus, the button ends up being free — provided you use it.

Amazon Elements

Prime members also have access to Amazon Elements, the company's private-label brand. Considering the brand launched in 2014 and is now comprised mostly of wipes and dietary supplements, it's a small perk.

Prime Early Access to Lightning Deals

Prime members get 30 minutes of early access to Amazon's Lightning Deals — flash sales on a limited amount of discounted items for a set amount of time. Before the sales, early access availability is noted on the deal listing.

Prime Reading

Amazon Prime members who enjoy reading can take advantage of various benefits. Prime Reading lets members borrow select eBooks (some with Audible Narration), comic books, magazines, and Kindle Singles, with no due date. (This is different than Kindle Unlimited, which offers unlimited access to more than 1 million titles and thousands of Audible books for $9.99 per month.)

SEE ALSO: 14 Confusing Things About Shopping on Amazon

In addition to 10 Prime Reading titles, members can also download one of six editors' book selections one month before publication date with Amazon First Reads.

Free Washington Post Subscription

Prime members can sign up for a free six-month Basic Digital subscription to The Washington Post. After the trial period, the cost is $3.99 per month.

Free Audible Access

Since 2016, Prime members have also received access to Audible Channels of podcasts and original programs. These include West Cork, a true crime audio series, and What Were You Thinking?, hosted by journalist Dina Temple-Raston, who explores the brains and choices of adolescents. Users can download the Audible app to listen on Android, iOS, Windows 10, and certain Fire devices, and can browse shows by genre.

Prime Music

Prime Music gives members access to 2 million ad-free songs that can be played on demand via laptops, phones, and Fire and Echo devices. You can choose from personalized stations or curated playlists. Prime members also get a discounted rate of $7.99 per month or $79 per year for Amazon Music Unlimited — usually $9.99 per month after a 30-day free trial — for access to tens of millions of songs. Echo and family plans are also available.

Prime Video

With Prime Video, members get free Amazon video streaming for thousands of TV shows and movie titles, from new releases to classics. TV shows include Amazon original series such as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Sneaky Pete, and Lore, and a host of other series, like Sex and the City, Downton Abbey, and Mr. Robot.

If a movie or show in your Watchlist is slated to leave Prime Video, the final date will likely be listed so you can get in some binge-watching.

Available shows and movies are added or removed, but if something in your Watchlist is slated to leave Prime Video, the final date will likely be listed so you can get in some binge-watching. With a Prime membership, you are also able to purchase paid monthly subscriptions to premium networks, like HBO, Showtime, and Starz.

Shopping With Alexa

Prime members can tell their shopping orders to Alexa if they have an Amazon Echo or other Alexa device. Plus, special Alexa deals and discounts are available for Prime members.

Twitch Prime

In 2014, Amazon acquired Twitch, a livestreaming video platform and community for gamers, who watch and discuss video games. And in September 2016, Twitch Prime was announced. Amazon Prime members get game freebies, a free Twitch channel subscription every month, discounts on box game preorders, and ad-free viewing.

Prime Photos

Prime membership includes free unlimited photo storage, plus an additional 5 GB for video and document storage — only for personal use and not for business. You can also share the photo storage with five other people in a Family Vault. Photos are easily searchable, can be uploaded through a mobile app, and can be accessed across a variety of devices.

Amazon Family

Amazon Prime members can get 20% off diapers subscriptions, a free welcome box, and 15% off eligible baby items. For an additional $2.99 per month (after a one-month free trial), Prime members can snag FreeTime Unlimited, which offers access to more than 15,000 kid-friendly books, movies, TV shows, apps, and games on Kindle, Fire tablets, Android devices, or compatible Echo products.

SEE ALSO: How to Add Family to Your Amazon Prime Account

Amazon Prime Store Card

Members can get an Amazon Prime Store Card and earn 5% back on Amazon purchases. Occasionally there are even bonus offers for applying — like receiving a $10 gift card upon approval.

Benefit Sharing

Prime members can create an Amazon Household account to share benefits with one other adult and up to four teens and four children, provided all of these people have the same address. Check out our guide: "How to Add Family to Your Amazon Prime Account."

Teens can even shop with their own login under their parent's account. It provides freedom for them to do their own shopping, but parents can still approve their purchases.

Prime Wardrobe

Subscription boxes have grown incredibly popular, thanks to services like Stitch Fix. Amazon joined the game with Prime Wardrobe, and it's a great way to try before you buy. Simply choose at least three items of clothing, accessories, and shoes to fill your box. Amazon will send you the box at no extra charge and give you seven days to try them out. You'll keep only the items you love, pay for those, and send the rest back.

Prime-Exclusive Phones

Shoppers can grab select models of LG and Motorola phones at Prime-exclusive prices. The phones are unlocked, allowing you to choose your plan and carrier simply.

Prime-Exclusive Brands

Prime members have access to exclusive brands, including those offering clothing and snacks. Wickedly Prime offers a variety of snacks, soups, and teas. Happy Belly is another brand for Prime members on Amazon, and offers "high-quality foods and beverages that taste great." It's not just tasty snacks, either. Prime members can also shop exclusive fashion brands, including The Fix.

Stock up on snacks and drinks with Wickedly Prime and Happy Belly, two Prime-exclusive brands.

Prime Insider

Prime offers a ton of benefits to its members, and Amazon often adds perks. If you're afraid of missing out, consider checking out Prime Insider. It's a great way to keep up with all the benefits a Prime membership offers, as well as get access to "exclusive interviews and user guides," and "offers and deals just for Prime members."

Prime-Exclusive Discounts at Whole Foods

Since Amazon purchased Whole Foods, it's been providing Prime members with extra incentives to shop at the healthy grocer. Last November, Prime members received an in-store Whole Foods coupon for 20% off and 14% off whole regular and organic turkeys, respectively. It was the first in-store coupon we'd seen since the buyout, but not the last. Around Mother's Day, the online retailer had a promotion where Prime members could snag 20 tulips for $10 at their local Whole Foods store.

The deals aren't restricted to seasonal offerings, though. Prime members can now save an extra 10% on select items at Whole Foods stores.

Amazon Key

Amazon introduced new delivery options over the last year. Now, Prime members can have their packages dropped off inside their homes, so they don't have to worry about items being stolen. It's also recently introduced in-car delivery for select models of Chevrolet, GMC, Buick, Cadillac, and Volvo.

Looking for other tips for your Prime membership? Check out Amazon's own piece on "47 Ways to Enjoy Prime."

Readers, do you have an Amazon Prime membership? Why or why not? If you're a Prime member, which perks do you use the most? Let us know in the comments below!


Contributing Writer

Josie Rubio is a Brooklyn, New York-based freelance editor and writer. She has visited five continents so far and loves to write about travel, food, nutrition, health... and pretty much everything. Follow her on Twitter at @JosieRubio.
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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11 comments
danmc9
I agree Amazon is convenient for the complacent(I'm included) but their returns are becoming a hassle and their awh deals are crap, plus their customer service will not price adjust even on the same day which tells me their prices fluctuate way to much...I could get movies, music and storage for less and save my membership fee for others... I'm done with Amazon
nematoda
@jp_mm "Amazon doesn't care about the consumer--they only care about your money." All companies exist to "take your money." That's simply the nature of capitalism.

The more relevant question is, "Do they provide value for the money they take?" For some people (e.g., many of the people posting here), Amazon Prime does not provide sufficient value, but for 100 million people, it clearly does--otherwise they simply wouldn't pay for the membership.

There's no right or wrong answer to the question, "Does Amazon Prime provide sufficient value." It all depends on the individual.
Crusader_1967
Gave up on Amazon Prime last year and don't regret it. I can usually get the same or better prices elsewhere as long as I meet the shipping minimum (usually $25-$35 or even free on Ebay). If you don't have Prime but still meet the shipping minimum, Amazon treats you like a second class citizen. Deliveries are usually 10 days+. I can get a Walmart or Target shipment in 2-3 days. The selection on Amazon Prime Video is the worst of any streaming service (except maybe Crackle which is free). Twitch is useless and I get my music from Pandora. I just wish there were a check box on Dealnews to exclude Amazon listings.
UmbertoM
I can't see any great advantage on that. Free Shipping is OK but most of the products they are so I can't see the benefit. The rest of the things are extras but nothing that I don't have for free today or pay less then prime to have.
skaets
Don't use any amazon, and am tired of all the free shipping with prime listings. wish they would make a cataeory for prime listings so I could quickly scroll past that category
dino8031
Amazon Prime's two shipping has become a joke. The current excuse is that it's two days from when it leaves the warehouse, but it can flounder at the warehouse for two or three days. The item almost never arrives in two days. A major disappointment. I used to love Prime, now not so much.
jb_mn
Al la carte is a great idea however why would Amazon do something like that when most people will pay a higher price for fewer benefits. Amazon doesn't care about the consumer--they only care about your money.
FlyingNinjaPandas
YMMV. Should be interesting to see how the Amazon Studios investments paying off with new content in the pipeline. Especially for some sci-fi fans out there who can already justify their subscription, the addition of Lazarus, The Peripheral, Ringworld, Snow Crash, and The Three-Body Problem could make for a very welcome addition. Not to mention Babylon 5 coming in June and their talks of picking up The Expanse.

They also have the Amazon Rewards Visa with the 5% back from the online store and Whole Foods.

Can't say I'm too happy that Prime Pantry went subscription based.

For the time being, BF savings has the membership paying for itself, though everyone's experience is different I'm sure.

I do like @B from C's idea, an a la carte build would be pretty amazing.
B from C
The problem is, the price keeps going up and up to provide these features whether you use them or not. I've been a prime member for years and just don't see the value now that it has blown past $100/yr. I'd rather wait a few more days for my packages, meet minimum order requirements, and find my music and movies elsewhere.

Now, if they started some sort of a la carte build your own bundle I'd probably jump right back in.
Jp9DpiOjM7k
"has more than 100 million members" That's worldwide, not just the U.S.
lucky2dream
Ok!