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Amazon Lightning Deals are like little magical flash sales for up to 80% off — but to snag these savings from Amazon, you have to act quick and sometimes do a little strategizing.
Lightning Deals only last a few hours and are only available to a certain amount of shoppers. But if you’re looking for deep discounts on anything from kitchenware and crafts to tech gadgets and toys, Lightning Deals pay off in a big way. And you won’t have to wait for Amazon Prime Day to save serious cash.
While you can’t mix a Lightning Deal with an Amazon Subscribe & Save discount, you CAN stack them with Amazon coupons — and the perks of this otherwise outweigh the cons. I’ll show you how to find the very best Lightning Deals and how to never, ever miss out on the ones you love.
1. To find Amazon Lightning Deals, head to “Today’s Deals.”
Amazon Lightning Deals are lumped in with Today’s Deals, which you can easily access from your Amazon home page on a desktop (it’s on the top navigation bar).
Once you’re there, scroll down your left sidebar to find “Deal Type.” Then check the box that says “Lightning Deals.” That’s where all these super-hot limited-time deals live.
You can also look at Lightning Deals in the Amazon app — it’s just laid out a bit differently. Tap “Today’s Deals” on your top nav bar, then use the “Deal Type” filter to see Lightning Deals:
FYI — sometimes Amazon changes the name of Today’s Deals for big sales. For instance, during the 2022 holiday season, it became “Very Merry Deals.” But it’ll take you to the same page, whatever it’s called.
Related: We found 160+ Amazon stocking stuffer ideas for your shopping list.
2. Prime Members get to access Amazon Lightning Deals 30 minutes early.
One of the lesser-known Amazon Prime benefits is that members get to shop Lightning Deals 30 minutes before non-Prime members. And because these deals come and go so fast, a head start makes all the difference.
Look for the “Prime Early Access” labels as you search for Lightning Deals to snag them before they go public.
TIP: Add Lightning Deals to your cart before they’re released to the public, and make sure your payment info and shipping address are up to date! This will help you move quickly on a Lightning Deal that’s sure to sell out fast.
3. Check the “claimed” bar on the Lightning Deal to see how many are still available.
Lightning Deals are limited by time and quantity, so once a deal is 100% claimed, you won’t be able to add it to your cart. As you browse the best Lightning Deals, pay attention to the “claimed bar” on each listing to get a better sense of how quickly you’ll need to act. The hottest deals get scooped up fast, so if something you love shows it’s over 50% claimed, the time to buy it is ASAP.
4. Once you add a Lightning Deal to your cart, you have 15 minutes to check out and snag the deal.
If you’ve ever bought concert tickets online (ahem, Taylor Swift), you know the stress of a timed checkout. Amazon Lightning Deals are very popular, so it’s the same kind of game.
Once you add a Lightning Deal to your Amazon cart, you have 15 minutes to check out and confirm your purchase. If you don’t finish checking out before the 15-minute countdown, the item will stay in your cart, but it’ll reflect the original price — not the Lightning Deal price. You can delete the item from your cart and re-add it to get the Lightning Deal price, but only if it’s still available for you to claim.
5. If you miss a Lightning Deal, join the waitlist — you might still be able to get it.
Sometimes you’ll see a Lightning Deal that’s 99% claimed, but once you click it, the deal’s already gone. In this case, you’ll see a “Join Waitlist” button where you’d normally see the “Add to Cart” button.
Joining the waitlist gives you another chance to snag the Lightning Deal you just missed. So if other shoppers added it to their cart before you but missed their 15-minute checkout window, you’ll have another shot at it. This depends on where you are in the waitlist queue, of course.
The waitlist is a “first come, first served” kind of thing, so if dozens of other shoppers joined the waitlist before you, they’ll have the chance to grab the Lightning Deal first if it becomes available again.
TIP: Sometimes, you won’t have to join the waitlist at all, and the Lightning Deal will automatically become available again. I’ve found items that were 100% claimed, but when I refreshed the page 20 minutes later, they were only 92% claimed, and I was able to add the items to my cart again. So keep this in mind as a backup if joining the waitlist doesn’t work out.
6. Filter your search by “Upcoming” to see Amazon Lightning Deals dropping soon.
Once you filter by Lightning Deals, you can narrow your search further to see upcoming deals that aren’t available yet. Just click “Upcoming” at the top of your left sidebar, where all your other search filters are. If you’re in the Amazon app, select the “Availability” filter, then tap “Upcoming” from the dropdown.
You’ll see a bunch of Prime Early Access labels across the Lightning Deals, plus a countdown for when each deal goes live. Usually, upcoming Lightning Deals are available in five minutes or less.
7. Add upcoming Lightning Deals to your Watchlist to get alerts when they go live.
Wanna make sure you don’t miss an upcoming Lightning Deal? An easy way to get first dibs is to add the deal to your Watchlist. As soon as the deal goes live, Amazon will send you an alert in the app. That way, you can check out fast and score the deal in a flash.
When you’re looking at upcoming Lightning Deals, you’ll see a “Watch this deal” button under each listing. Just click this button to add the deal to your Watchlist.
8. Sort by “Discount – High to Low” to see Lightning Deals with the deepest discounts first.
If you’re looking for the BEST of the best Lightning Deals, Amazon’s search tools will help you find them. You can sort your search by Discount – High to Low to see the deals with the highest percentage off first. The higher the discount, the better the Lightning Deal.
I’ve seen some Lightning Deals hit up to 81% off regular prices.
9. Check the price history of Lightning Deals on CamelCamelCamel.com to make sure you’re getting a good deal.
It’s important to know that a Lightning Deal doesn’t always mean you’re getting something at an all-time low price. To make sure it’s a good deal, copy and paste the Amazon URL for the item into a CamelCamelCamel.com search.
You’ll be able to see the item’s price history and whether it’s been sold for less than the Lightning Deal price you’re seeing now. If the item had an even lower price in the past, it might be worth waiting for that price drop to come around again. If not, snatch that Lightning Deal while you can and rest easy knowing you’re getting a great deal.
10. Only Prime members can score Lightning Deals on Amazon Prime Day.
Amazon Prime Day is the biggest online sale — like, ever. So items are already selling at lightning speed. That’s why only Prime members have access to Lightning Deals during the 2-day Prime Day event.
If you want in on some of the best ever Amazon deals all year, sign up for Amazon Prime before the next Prime Day Sale (it happens in July and October each year). That way, you can join in on the killer Lightning Deals available for the big event.
11. Stack Amazon coupons with Lightning Deals to save even more.
Some Lightning Deal items even come with Amazon coupons you can clip. To get the coupon discount, you have to clip it before you add the item to your cart or else it won’t apply to your order.
Once you apply the coupon, you’ll see the Lightning Deal and the coupon savings as two distinct line items in your total.
12. You can’t stack Subscribe & Save discounts with Amazon Lightning Deals and coupons.
Unfortunately, you have to either stack the coupon with your Lightning Deal or stack it with your Subscribe & Save discount — you can’t have both.