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Amazon Prime benefits cover so much more than free shipping, although that’s definitely part of the appeal! I was a Prime member for years before I dug into exactly what comes with my yearly $139 payment to Amazon (including how to share a prime membership).
Between constantly changing the names of Prime Benefits and offering different versions depending on where you live, it can be confusing. For example, what’s the difference between Amazon Music Prime and Music Unlimited? Or Amazon Fresh versus Whole Foods Delivery? Prime Reading or Kindle Unlimited?
If you’re wondering if a Prime membership is worth it or you’re curious about what you’re missing out on with your membership, this is for you.
How much does Amazon Prime cost?
Amazon just raised their prices in the Spring of 2022. Annual membership fees are $139, up from $119. If you pay monthly, Amazon Prime will run you $14.99/month, where it used to only cost $12.99/month. Students are now paying $69/year or $7.49/month – a $10/year or $1/month price increase.
If you have EBT or Medicaid, you can qualify for a discounted Prime membership through Amazon Access. The discounted membership (called “Prime Access”) will run you $7.49/month. You will have to recertify every 12 months to continue to qualify for the discount pricing.
TIP: As long as you haven’t had a membership in the past 12 months, you qualify for a free trial membership of Prime. You will start being charged for your membership after the first 30 days.
What are the benefits of Amazon Prime?
Two-Day shipping is Amazon legend and it’s the benefit that hooked most of us. You could say it made us allergic to paying for shipping everywhere. You probably know Amazon ships almost everything (including items from Amazon Pharmacy) to Prime members for free.
But there are a lot of other benefits included in your Prime membership, too.
Save even more through Amazon Warehouse.
When you use Amazon Warehouse, you’ll find open-box or gently used items for a massive discount.
While this is true whether or not you’re a Prime member, Prime membership gets you free 2-day shipping on these items. Warehouse items are also usually on sale for an additional 20% off around Amazon Prime Day – an event you won’t be able to access without a Prime membership. We’ll get into that later.
Get a free Twitch subscription + loot through Prime Gaming.
If you don’t know what Twitch is, grab any random teen and ask. Gamers stream gaming videos on Twitch — it’s like YouTube, but for video game enthusiasts.
Try those clothes you found on Amazon Outlet for free with Prime Wardrobe.
Amazon Prime Wardrobe is exclusively for Prime members, and it’ll save you from returning pieces that you hate or that don’t fit.
Basically, you can order between three and eight clothing items and send back what you don’t want within seven days. You’ll only pay for what you keep.
This is especially helpful when combined with Amazon Outlet, where you can find some pretty steep discounts on designer name fashion items.
Access Amazon Lockers for free.
If package theft is a problem in your area, consider sending your orders to an Amazon locker.
These self-service kiosks allow you to pick up your package whenever you want — including evenings and weekends — instead of letting it sit on your porch all day.
Non-Prime members pay for Amazon lockers when they pay shipping fees, but it’s free for you to use because you’re a Prime member. Oh, you can place returns in the Amazon Locker, too — also free.
TIP: You can also make Amazon returns at Kohl’s, though this benefit is available to everyone regardless of Prime status. They’ll even box up your items for you!
Amazon Key delivery is free — after you’ve paid for setup.
With Amazon Key, an associate delivers your packages to a secure location like inside your garage or gate.
I say use this if you don’t have access to an Amazon Locker, because an Amazon Locker is superior to Amazon Key. It’s more simple and you don’t have to buy special equipment to use it. To boil it down, Amazon Key turns your garage or gate into a huge, glorified Amazon Locker.
It’s a cool idea, and while it’s not free to set up, it’s free for Prime members to use. It’s just got a lot of moving parts and pieces, so I’m leaving a skeleton of resources for you to check out if you’re interested in Amazon Key.
To use Amazon Key, you’ll be prompted in the Key app to choose one of these options for setup:
- Install your smart lock and camera. (Here’s where to buy a smart lock and camera if you don’t have one.)
- Add a garage door using your myQ account. (You’ll need to buy a myQ Garage Kit first.)
- Activate your Ring account. (Buy a Ring device first.)
Here’s more about getting started with Amazon Key.
Here’s help for troubleshooting common Amazon Key problems.
Here are Amazon Key Frequently Asked Questions.
Too complicated? Just go with Amazon Locker.
Amazon Day ensures your packages arrive on a specific day of the week.
I’m not one for predictability as a total life motto. But, when someone else is doing the discipline part for me, I’m all in.
Amazon Day is a feature that allows Prime members to select up to two days a week for orders to arrive, and Amazon will combine items into single packages as often as possible. So you reduce your waste and carbon footprint plus make more room in your recycle bin, because you’ll have less Amazon cardboard. And you can pick a day you know you’ll be home to pull everything into the house.
Get free One-Day or Same-Day shipping.
Did you know that as a Prime member you can also get free One-Day shipping on certain items? When you’re shopping, filter by “Get it Tomorrow” to see One-Day eligible items. You’ll receive a One-Day shipment by 9 p.m. the next day.
Plus, Amazon offers Same-Day delivery, but it’s currently only available in cities like:
- Washington, D.C.
In these cities, place an order by 5 p.m. and you’ll get it within five hours. Items marked “Prime FREE Same-Day” are eligible.
Shuffle through 100 million songs with Amazon Prime Music.
Want to listen to all 100 million songs on Amazon Music, free? A Prime subscription now gives you access to Amazon Music’s full song library, without commercials, but you have to listen to your favorite artists and albums on shuffle.
You can opt for the extra $9/month Amazon Music Unlimited service, to play specific songs or skip the ones you don’t want to hear.
Access Amazon Prime savings in the “Just for Prime” section.
In Amazon’s search dropdown, select “Just for Prime” to find Amazon Prime shopping deals — you guessed it — just for Prime members.
From here you can browse through deals listed or search for specific items in the search bar.
Access everything Amazon Subscribe & Save has to offer.
With Amazon Subscribe & Save, you can set certain household essentials on auto-order to arrive as often as once a month and as infrequently as once every six months. Cleaning supplies, trash bags, groceries, and laundry detergent are the most common items available.
The best part is if you subscribe to five or more unique items, you’ll get 15% off. Fewer than five unique subscriptions in a shipment will still get you 10% off, but timing it so you can get the whole 15% off is the way to go. Learn more about how Subscribe & Save works or see Subscribe & Save deals.
TIP: To be fair, Subscribe & Save is technically available to all shoppers. But there are some items you can only subscribe to if you have a Prime membership.
Get free books through Prime Reading.
Prime members get instant access to loads and loads of free Kindle ebooks and audiobooks. You can send the titles to your Kindle device, or to your smartphone or laptop to read.
If you’re a frequent reader, take advantage of Amazon First Reads, which offers once a month (free!) early access to select new titles in ebook form. Paper titles are sometimes available for $9.99 on prerelease.
If you’re an avid reader, you can choose to pay $9.99 for Kindle Unlimited. This will open you up to over one million free titles and thousands of audiobooks.
Save up to 40% on hardcover children’s books with Amazon Book Box.
Keep story time fresh and save money on kids’ books with Amazon Book Box, which delivers two hardcover books or four board books for delivery every one to three months.
Amazon editors handpick book titles. You can either take what they give you, or ‘customize’ your box by picking specific titles from available options. It’s $16.99 for your first box and then $19.99 for every box after that.
This service is only available to Prime members.
Pay half of what non-Prime members pay for Amazon Kids+.
It used to be called “Freetime Unlimited,” but even with a new name, it’s the same idea. As a Prime member you’ll only pay $2.99 per month per child for thousands of books, movies, TV shows, and educational games — all kid friendly. Non-members pay $4.99 per month.
Plus, you can set time limits and restrict certain apps if you want to. Kids can’t make in-app purchases or access other apps like social media while they’re in Kids+.
Access Amazon Family and save up to 20% on diapers.
When you sign up, expect to get all kinds of coupons and offers for baby-related items, including a free baby box as a welcome. The box will have trial and full size samples of baby products.
Make sure you create a baby registry on Amazon, too. Once you’ve received $500 worth of items on your registry, you’re eligible for an additional 20% off diapers through your child’s first birthday, or after you’ve spent $300 on diapers – whichever comes first.. You can stack this offer with your original Amazon Family offer for a whopping 40% off diapers!
TIP: You can also get a 15% off baby registration completion discount. Learn more about Amazon’s baby registry.
Get Prime Now, Amazon Fresh, or Whole Foods Delivery for two-hour grocery delivery.
Amazon Prime Now? Amazon Fresh? Whole Foods Delivery? What the holy heck is the difference?
Regionality is the main difference. You could pinpoint other minor differences, but the big deal is where you live. Amazon offers two-hour delivery to most of the US, and depending on your city, it’ll either be Prime Now, Amazon Fresh, or Whole Foods Delivery. It’s confusing because if you don’t have one of these services, it seems like it doesn’t exist. Amazon redirects you to whatever service is in your area. When I try to find Prime Now, I’m redirected to Whole Foods Delivery, for example.
But you’re not missing anything if you don’t have Amazon Fresh. Just place your free two-hour grocery delivery order on Amazon (from whatever service is in your area) and celebrate that it’s free because you’re a Prime member.
Note that Amazon Fresh customers must order a minimum of $35 worth of groceries to get free delivery.
Get discounts at Whole Foods because you’re a Prime member.
When you’re shopping at Whole Foods, look around the store for tags that offer Prime member discounts. You’ll find dollar-off deals ($2 off a rotisserie chicken) and percent-off deals (10% off all fresh wrap sandwiches.)
Download the Whole Foods app and connect it to your Prime account and then scan the QR code at checkout to apply any savings.
Here are a few examples of Prime member deals I’ve seen at my local Whole Foods:
- Organic strawberries: 2 for $5, regularly $4.99 each
- Kind bars and granola: 35% off
- Bell & Evans Chicken Tenders: Buy 1, Get 1 Free, regularly $6.99 each
Shop ’til you drop on Amazon Prime Day.
In the past, Amazon Prime Day happened in July, save for a blip in 2020 when it ran in October. The next Prime Day 2022 will likely begin on July 18, 2022.
You have to be a Prime member to shop Prime Day deals. Here are a few of the best deals I’ve seen:
Toshiba 32-Inch 720p HD Smart LED TV, Fire TV Edition (reg. $179.99) $99.99, sale price
All-New Fire 7 Tablet (reg. $49.99) $29.99, sale price
Instant Pot DUO Plus 60 6-Quart 9-in-1 Pressure Cooker (reg. $129.95) $55.99, sale price
Get early access to Lightning Deals 30 minutes before everyone else.
Next time you’re shopping, look for labels that say “Prime Early Access” on Lightning Deals. What’s a Lightning Deal, you ask? It’s a highly desirable deal that’s only on sale for a short amount of time (hours) and usually sells out. So, early access is necessary for getting the best deals.
Earn 5% cash back when you shop Amazon with your Amazon Rewards card.
Amazon offers a few options for credit cards. The first, the Amazon Rewards card, is a traditional credit card that you can use wherever you shop. The second, the Amazon Store card, is a credit card you can only use at Amazon.
Amazon Rewards cardholders who are also Prime members earn:
- 5% back on all Amazon and Whole Foods purchases.
- 2% back at restaurants and gas stations.
- 1% everywhere else.
Non-members don’t get the 5% back on Amazon purchases.
Now is a good time to sign up if you’re a rewards credit card person. You’ll get a $100 Amazon gift card instantly.
It’s a similar story with Amazon Store cardholders. Prime members get that extra 5% back on every single Amazon purchase, where non-members only get 5-15% off select items throughout the year. New store cardholders can get an instant $60 Amazon gift card right now.
All rewards points can be used to make future Amazon purchases.
Get free shipping from Woot and expedited free shipping from Zappos.
Get free shipping at Woot.com when you link your Prime account. Since Zappos already offers free shipping on all orders to everyone, Prime members can get upgraded expedited free shipping.
Get access to thousands of Prime Video titles for free.
This one is about as obvious as free two-day shipping for Prime members, but it’s one of the benefits I use most often. Between TV shows, movies, and Prime Originals, Prime Video is still going strong in my top three choices for streaming.
Plus, you can rent movies or access Prime Video Cinema. In many cases, this means you can sit at home watching the same movies other people are watching in the theaters. Most Prime Video Cinema rentals cost $19.99.
Get free unlimited photo storage through Amazon Photo.
Wanna know how Amazon Photo compares with other plans? Check it out:
- Amazon Photo Storage for non-Prime members: 100 GB for $1.99 per month.
- Apple iCloud: 50 GB for $0.99 per month. (Breaks down to about $2 per month for 100 GB for an apples-to-apples comparison.)
- Dropbox: 2 TB for $9.99 per month. (Breaks down to $0.50 per month for every 100 GB.)
What are your favorite Amazon Prime benefits? Let us know in the comments!