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 $119 payment to Amazon.
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 what you’re missing out on with your membership, this is for you.
Amazon Prime shipping and delivery benefits
1. Get free One-Day or Same-Day shipping.
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 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 Philadelphia, Dallas, Orlando, and Phoenix. 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.
2. Use Amazon Day to make sure your packages arrive on a certain day of the week.
I’m not one for predictability as a total life motto. But, when it comes to boxes sitting on my empty porch all day, give me my Amazon Day.
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 hey, 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.
3. Or send your items to an Amazon Locker for free.
If you have an eclectic schedule without a single day you’re always home, or a package theft 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 (suckers!) 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.
4. If you don’t have access to an Amazon Locker, use Amazon Key delivery.
With Amazon Key, an associate delivers your packages to a secure location like inside your garage or gate (home and car delivery are currently paused because of COVID-19).
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. If not? Go with Amazon Locker.
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.)
5. Use 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.
Amazon Prime shopping benefits
6. 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
7. Shop ’til you drop on Amazon Prime Day.
In the past, Amazon Prime Day happened in July, but in 2020, during the pandemic, Amazon ran a Prime Day sale for a few days in October instead. October’s Prime Day bled into Black Friday, which bled into holiday shopping, and we basically had Amazon sales through the end of the year.
That said, I don’t know when Prime Day will happen this year, but I promise you’ll be the first to hear when I find out.
You have to be a Prime member to shop Prime Day deals. Here are a few of the best deals I’ve seen:
Final Price: $99.99
Final Price: $29.99
Final Price: $55.99
8. 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.
9. Sign up for 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 for a year. Yes, you can stack this offer with your original Amazon Family offer for a whopping 40% off diapers!
(Also, you’ll get a 15% off baby registration completion discount.) Learn more about Amazon’s baby registry.
10. 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 in addition to 2% back at restaurants and gas stations and 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 Amazon purchases, where non-members only get 5-15% off certain 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.
11. Amazon gives you 2% in credit when you use Amazon Reload to add money to a gift card.
As an Amazon Prime member, you’ll get a 2% credit whenever you reload your gift card using a debit card through Amazon Reload.
So, if you load $100 to your Amazon gift card, they’ll put an extra $2 on it. (You have to load the gift card from money on a debit card, so you can’t use your Amazon credit card to load a gift card and get another 5% back. But I love that you thought about that.)
12. Order clothes through Prime Wardrobe and only pay for what you keep.
This feature is exclusively for Prime members, and it’ll save you from returning pieces that you hate or that don’t fit. I tried out Prime Wardrobe and wrote about it.
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.
13. 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.
Amazon Prime streaming and digital benefits
14. 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 and sit at home watching the same movies other people are watching in the theaters. Most Prime Video Cinema rentals cost $19.99.
15. Get free Kindle 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.
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 titles and thousands of audiobooks.
16. Stream free music with Amazon Prime Music.
Get up to two million songs and thousands of playlists for free (no commercials!). You can also listen to your songs offline with your Prime membership.
If you want total control over your music and more than 60 million songs, you’ll need to pay for Amazon Music Unlimited. The difference between Prime Music and Amazon Music is the size and cost of it. You’ll get more songs when you pay for Amazon Music Unlimited.
Amazon Music is $7.99 per month for Prime members and $9.99 per month for everyone else. If you have an Amazon Alexa device, it’s only $3.99 per month per device.
17. 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+.
18. Get free unlimited photo storage through Amazon Photo.
Everyone gets 5 GB of free storage for videos, but only Prime members get unlimited photo storage.
Wanna know how Amazon Photo compares with other plans? Check it out:
- Amazon Photo Storage for non-Prime members: 100 GB for $19.99 per year ($1.66/mo)
- Apple iCloud: 50 GB for $0.99 per month (Breaks down to $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)
19. Get a free Twitch subscription and tons of free games through Prime Gaming.
Like Prime Video and Prime Music, Prime Gaming offers tons of free PC games for Prime members. Plus, you can get a free Twitch channel subscription.
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.