I put off joining Amazon Prime for a couple of years. I think I finally caved and signed up for the 30-day free trial when I found a TV series I wanted to stream from Prime Instant Video. By the time the 30-day trial was over, I was hooked. It was way better than I thought—all the movies and free two-day shipping? It was no longer a luxury in my book. I needed it!
That was several years ago, and Amazon Prime has only improved since then. The $99 yearly membership still offers a 30-day free trial and comes with a slew of perks in addition to the popular free 2-day shipping.
The perks of Prime
1. Free 2-day shipping
This is the most well-known perk of joining Amazon Prime. Millions of items on Amazon.com are available with FREE two-day shipping to members. You can also get discounts on even faster shipping, or if you decide you don't need something that quickly, you can opt for a slower shipping speed and get a $1 credit that you can use for eBooks, digital music, or videos. I'm an impatient person, but even I can wait an extra day or two sometimes in the name of making a buck. (Make sure you keep track of your credits closely because they do expire.)
2. Prime Music
There are several options for streaming music out there, but most require subscriptions if you don't want to hear ads. Prime Music is a FREE (and ad free) music streaming service, and yes, there's an app for that. The great thing is it also stores any music you've purchased through Amazon and gives you access to it in the cloud.
3. Prime Instant Video
It's no Netflix, but it is pretty great. Prime Instant Video allows you to stream movies and TV episodes for FREE. There are thousands of titles to choose from, and some are even exclusive to Amazon Prime.
4. Prime Photos
An old Saturday Night Live skit mockingly introduces the "iPod Invisa," an iPod that holds "every picture ever taken," and is so small you can't see it. They may have been joking, but what they described back then is a reality now in Prime Photos. Your prime membership gets you FREE unlimited photo storage. You load your photos into the Amazon Cloud Drive and you can access them anywhere from any device with an Internet connection.
5. Prime Lending Library
If you have a Kindle, your Amazon Prime membership lets you access 500,000 FREE eBooks in the Kindle Owner's Lending Library. You can borrow one book a month and keep it for as long as you want.
6. Early access to Lightning Deals
As a Prime member, you get first dibs on Amazon's Lightning Deals, and can shop MyHabit.com events half an hour before other customers. This seems a bit like a throw-away perk until there's something you really want, and then you'll be glad you have it.
If you live in certain cities, your Prime membership also gets you access to Prime Now, a one-hour delivery service, and a free trial to the Amazon Fresh grocery delivery service.