It’s common knowledge that an Amazon Prime membership gets you free two-day shipping. But there are additional benefits that make the service more worthwhile—and considering the cost of a yearly membership, you're doing yourself a disservice if you aren't taking advantage of all of them. Below, we've listed some of the perks you should be using as an Amazon Prime member. Arguably, these incentives alone aren't worth the cost of a membership, but chances are at least one of them will come in handy.
Amazon has had more than its fair share of debacles over the years. Still, as of January 2021, there are more than 150 million Prime members around the world. If you're one of them, these perks are worth checking out.
Updated June 2021: We've added new benefits and removed ones Amazon is phasing out.
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What’s Amazon Prime, and How Much Does It Cost?
Amazon Prime is a premium membership to Amazon.com. If you're a brand-new member, you can try it free for 30 days. This trial automatically renews, so set a reminder on your phone to reassess and make sure you cancel, if you want to, on time.
Amazon Prime costs $119 per year. You can pay $13 per month instead, but that raises the cost of the membership to $156 per year. You'll save more money by paying once. Students with a valid .edu email address can get Prime Student, which is $59 annually or $6 per month, and there's a longer 6-month free trial before you have to start paying.
While guaranteed shipping speeds are a bit touch-and-go due to Covid-19 supply chain delays, Prime members are still eligible for free next-day shipping on millions of items and free two-day shipping on millions more. Depending on where you live, you may also be eligible for free same-day delivery. Other Amazon-owned stores also offer free shipping to Prime members, including ShopBop, Woot!, and East Dane.
Prime members get free (and commercial-free) Prime Music Streaming from a selection of 2 million songs. Members are also eligible for discounted subscriptions to Amazon Music Unlimited, a separate service that offers access to 70 million songs. Normally it costs $10 per month, but Prime members only have to pay $8 monthly.
Prime Video is also included with your membership. There are some killer originals, like The Expanse (a WIRED staff favorite) and Homecoming, in addition to other movies and shows. Purchased separately, Prime Video costs $9 per month.
Finally, we’d be remiss if we didn't talk about Amazon’s members-only event, Prime Day. The annual "holiday" has outperformed both Black Friday and Cyber Monday in years past, but not every Prime Day deal is actually a bargain. The WIRED Gear team always covers the event to make good deals easier to find. This year, Prime Day is on June 21 and 22, though discounts often start earlier.
Overwhelmed by the sheer amount of boxes at your door? (Honestly, as a product reviewer, same.) Amazon Day lets you schedule all of your deliveries to arrive on a certain day of the week. Rather than dealing with a box or two at a time on multiple days, you can get one package with all of your orders on whichever day you prefer. If you use Amazon Day, you aren't locked in. That means if you're ordering something you need quickly, you can still opt for the fastest shipping method. Amazon Day is a good way to cut back on cardboard (and your carbon footprint).
Even outside of Prime Day, Amazon Prime members are eligible for special members-only discounts. That might mean a few bucks off your portable charger purchase, a 20 percent off coupon to use on dog food, or better prices on new Amazon devices. Individual discounts vary, but we see these sorts of promotions pretty frequently—and, as with Prime Day, not all of them are good.
Early-Access Lightning Deals
Both during and outside of special events like Prime Day and Black Friday, Prime members get early access to select Lightning Deals. You will be able to shop 30 minutes before other customers. Whether Lightning Deals are worth your money is another discussion entirely, but it's a perk worth checking out.
If you don't need your order to arrive right away, sometimes at checkout you'll see the option for free No-Rush Shipping. Usually, choosing No-Rush Shipping gets you a free $1 digital credit to use on things like ebooks, digital games, movies, and the like. The rewards sometimes expire after a certain duration. I've used No-Rush credits to get as much as $10 off digital games on release day. Since video game discounts are rare, especially right after release, this can be lucrative if you time it correctly (and don't mind waiting for your purchases to arrive).
Amazon Fresh lets you order groceries via Amazon and get them delivered to your door. It's not available in all areas, but it is a different way to shop if you're trying to avoid in-person trips. You also get a selection of products from Whole Foods available through Amazon Fresh. My mom uses Amazon Fresh to ship groceries to my student brother, in the hope that he eats at least one vegetable that's not in a pizza. Somewhat confusingly, there are similarly-named physical Amazon Fresh grocery stores in some cities.
Since Amazon bought Whole Foods a few years back, you can usually find picks from Whole Foods store brands within Amazon's grocery services. It might make a good way to try something new or stock up on items you already like.
For families, Amazon Household is a good way to share benefits between multiple people. You can share membership perks with two adults, four teens, and four adults. Parents can use Amazon Household to approve teens' orders or set up parental controls on kids' content.
Amazon First Reads
Each month, Prime members can check out Amazon First Reads. That's two Kindle books from the selection for free. Non-Prime members can get their two books for $2 apiece. As a reminder, you can read Kindle books even if you don't have a Kindle device thanks to the free app available for phones and computers. We also have a buying guide to help you pick the right Kindle.
In addition to First Reads, Prime members get access to tons of Kindle books via Prime Reading. There are more than a thousand items to choose from. Aside from books, you can access audiobooks and magazines, plus comics via Comixology. WIRED senior editor Michael Calore mentioned Prime Reading as one of his quarantine lifesavers in this Gadget Lab podcast episode.
Every month, Prime members are eligible for various rewards via Prime Gaming (formerly known as Twitch Prime). This includes in-game loot in a variety of popular games, free game downloads, free downloadable content (DLC) and expansions, and more. You also get a free Twitch subscription—which sounds like you can watch Twitch for free, but "Twitch subs" are actually subscriptions to individual Twitch streamers, and they normally cost money. With the free subscription you get from Amazon Prime, you can support channels you enjoy—creators make some money off the subscription, but it won't cost you anything extra.
$10 off Game Preorders
This discount used to be much better, but it's still worth looking into if you are in the market for a new video game. Occasionally, Prime members can receive $10 off when they preorder a game. Eligible titles show up here when they're available.
Buying clothes online can be an arduous process. Prime Wardrobe offers a selection of items you can try on at home before committing. Pick out what you want and you'll get it for a week. If it's a winner, you can keep it. If it's not a perfect fit, you can return the items for free. I prefer to use this method when pieces are already discounted, since the price you'll pay if you decide to keep something is whatever the price was at checkout.
Unlimited Online Photo Storage
Prime members get access to unlimited full-resolution photo storage, and 5 gigabytes of video storage as well. You can store, print, and share photos using the Amazon Photos app and back everything up to the cloud. If your account ever loses Prime status, you'll need to pay at least $2 per month to keep storing your photos and videos, so this shouldn't be your primary backup method. You might want to consider using one of these options as well.
Discounted Amazon Kids+
Amazon Kids+ (formerly FreeTime Unlimited) is Amazon's content service for kids. The service is compatible with several iOS, Android, and Amazon devices, like Fire Tablets. It essentially provides a bevy of parental controls whilst giving kiddos access to age-appropriate shows, books, games, and the like. Kids+ costs $5 per month, but Prime members can snag the subscription for $3 per month.
Additional Perks for Specific Customers
Expecting a new addition to your family? Select Prime members can claim a free Baby Registry Welcome Box by creating a registry that has at least $10 worth of purchases (by themselves or others). Learn more here.
Select wireless carriers have special cellphone plans for Prime members. Members also get 10 percent back as a credit each month. These plans aren't for everyone—and your current provider may be cheaper—but they could be a good option for those seeking prepaid, inexpensive phone service.
PrimeRX offers select customers discounts on prescription medication. It's a prescription savings card that can be used at pharmacies nationwide, including Amazon Pharmacy. These savings programs are nothing new—and one may argue that giving Amazon information about your medications adds another layer to privacy concerns. However, the benefit is free if you do decide to use it.
Amazon Key offers select Prime members in-garage delivery. If you live in an eligible area, and you're interested, you'll need to purchase and install a smart garage kit. Amazon Key previously offered in-home delivery, but it's currently on pause due to the ongoing pandemic. (Of course, this also comes with a slew of privacy concerns.)
There are three different Amazon credit cards, two of them with Amazon Prime rewards. These come in the form of rewards back for Prime members on select purchases or at select retailers. You don't need to get an Amazon credit card; we encourage you to read through all of the available information and carefully consider it before deciding whether or not to get one.