Free 2-day shipping is the main reason why over 20 million users have an active Amazon Prime membership. And even for that alone, Amazon Prime is a fantastic deal!
But that barely scratches the surface of all the benefits that come with an Amazon Prime subscription. Amazon has gone above and beyond with Amazon Prime, offering so many more advantages that people have forgotten about (or never realized existed).
Here’s how to get the most out of your Amazon Prime membership. If you don’t have Amazon Prime yet, perhaps these extra benefits will be enough to justify the annual subscription. Grab a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime and try for yourself!
1. 1-Day and Same-Day Shipping
Did you know that Amazon Prime members in certain cities can get free 1-day shipping and free same-day shipping?
To qualify for 1-day or same-day shipping:
- Your order total must be at least $35.
- For same-day, all items must be marked same-day eligible. For 1-day, all items must be marked 1-day eligible.
- You must check out before the cut-off time, usually around noon.
- The shipping address must be in an eligible zip code. As of this writing, there are over 8,000 participating cities and towns across the continental US.
Whether you end up with a Prime subscription or not, it’s important to how to return an item on Amazon and get your money back in case you’re not happy with any of your purchases.
2. Prime Membership Sharing
Did you know that you can share your Amazon Prime membership’s benefits with up to one other adult and four non-adults? Yes, that’s right: five others can make use of your Amazon Prime benefits without giving them direct access to your account (i.e. sharing your account password, which breaches the Amazon Terms of Service).
The only stipulation is that these people must live at the same address as you. Or, in other words, membership can only be shared with actual members of the same household. To invite somebody, you’ll need to know their name, birthday, and email address. When they accept the invitation, they’ll need to know your birthday.
Learn more about how to share Amazon Prime with family.
3. Unlimited Photo Storage (Amazon Photos)
All Amazon customers start with 5GB of free data storage with Amazon Drive. This includes anything from photos to videos, documents to music files, and whatever else you might want to store on there.
As an Amazon Prime member, your free cloud storage plan is expanded and allows for unlimited photo files storage as part of the Amazon Photos program. All photos—whether previously uploaded or uploaded in the future—do not count against your cloud storage data limit.
Note: Photos must be smaller than 2GB. Supported formats include JPEG, PNG, BMP, TIFF, and RAW formats for Nikon (NEF), Canon (CR2), and Sony (ARW) cameras. Prime Photos is only meant for personal, non-commercial use.
4. Ad-Free Video Streaming (Prime Video)
And while Prime Video has long been seen as inferior to Netflix and Hulu, lately it’s gotten a lot better. Amazon Studios recently reached new heights, winning two Academy Awards—Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay—for the Amazon Original film, Manchester by the Sea. Other notable Amazon Originals include Sneaky Pete, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and The Man in the High Castle.
Note that Prime Video can be extended with “add-on channels,” which grant access to specific types of content that you may be interested in: Anime Strike, BritBox, Broadway HD, HBO, Horror TV, PBS KIDS, Showtime, STARZ, and many more.
5. Ad-Free Music Streaming (Prime Music)
While there’s a lot of entertainment value in Prime Video, it’s not the only streaming service offered by Amazon. If you listen to a lot of online music streams, then Prime Music will flip your world upside down.
Amazon maintains a library of over 1 million songs and albums that can be accessed by any Prime member for free. Prime Music includes unlimited skips, no ads, and access to handcrafted Prime Playlists. Don’t like them? Feel free to create your own playlists instead.
6. Free Twitch Subscription (Twitch Prime)
Love playing video games? Then you probably know about Twitch already. For the uninitiated, Twitch is like YouTube except with real-time live-streamed gameplay rather than pre-recorded videos. Twitch started as a platform for watching gaming tournaments and other events, but has since evolved into so much more.
While Twitch itself is completely free, it has bonus features you can unlock with a Twitch Turbo subscription (e.g. no advertisements). What you may not realize is, every Prime membership comes with Twitch Prime, which basically grants the same benefits as Twitch Turbo. But Twitch Prime offers one unique benefit: every month, certain commercial games are made free to download!
If you already have a Twitch account, you can connect your account to a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime to start reaping the benefits.
7. Flat-Fee Grocery Deliveries (Prime Pantry)
Amazon has a program called Prime Pantry that allows you to order special “Prime Pantry” items that aren’t normally available. These items include household essentials and groceries that are too cost-prohibitive to ship individually.
With Prime Pantry, you have three options: either pay $5.99 shipping on orders under $35, receive free shipping on orders $35 or over, or receive free shipping on orders $10 or over with a $4.99/mo Prime Pantry subscription.
Only Prime Pantry-eligible items are counted in orders. Due to air shipping regulations, Prime Pantry boxes can only be shipped by ground. Most orders arrive within 4 business days.
If you’re interested, you can grab a 30-day free trial of Prime Pantry and experience it for yourself. You may never need to visit your local grocery store ever again. Learn more in our examination of whether Amazon Prime Pantry is worth it.
8. Kindle Ebook Rentals (Lending Library)
Amazon Prime members who own Kindle e-readers or Kindle Fire tablets can rent ebooks for free from the Kindle Owners Lending Library. Rented ebooks have no due dates and can be shared across any devices connected to your Amazon account. The only restriction is that you can only borrow one ebook per calendar month.
Amazon also offers Prime Reading, which grants unlimited access to over 1,000 ebooks in Kindle format, both fiction and nonfiction.
There’s also the Kindle First program, which allows Prime members to download one free ebook every month. Titles in the Kindle First program are not-yet-released ebooks that are made available as Kindle First picks one month prior to their official release.
9. Pay Less for Amazon Prime
If you’re currently enrolled in a college or university and you have a valid .EDU email address, you can register as part of the Prime Student program, which grants a six-month free trial for Amazon Prime. When the trial ends, you can upgrade to a full Amazon Prime membership for 50 percent off.
Note: This free trial “only” includes free 2-day shipping and unlimited photo storage with Amazon Photos. Prime Video, Prime Music, Kindle Owners Lending Library, and membership sharing are only available to full Amazon Prime memberships.
10. Lightning Deals and Prime Day
Did you know that Amazon has an awesome deals program called Lightning Deals? In short, a Lightning Deal is a discounted item that’s only available in a certain quantity for a certain amount of time.
The Lightning Deals program isn’t exclusive to Prime, but Amazon Prime members have something called Prime Early Access. This lets you get a 30-minute head start on most (but not all) Lightning Deals, which is great because these deals sell out surprisingly fast. Visit the Lightning Deals page to see what’s available at any time.
Amazon Prime members are also eligible to participate on Prime Day, which is an annual event where thousands of items across the entire site are marked down. If you’ve been thinking of buying an Amazon device, Prime Day is the best day for it. Check out the best Prime Day deals, or read more in our in-depth look at Amazon Prime Day.
What Do You Get With Amazon Prime?
To recap, here are all the notable Amazon Prime features that come with Amazon Prime:
- Free 2-day, 1-day, or same-day shipping
- Prime Photos (unlimited storage for photos)
- Prime Music (unlimited ad-free streaming)
- Prime Video (unlimited ad-free streaming, plus Amazon Channels add-ons)
- Prime Reading (unlimited access to free ebooks, plus Lending Library and Kindle First)
- Prime Pantry (flat-rate shipping for groceries and household essentials)
- Prime Early Access (see Lightning Deals before everyone else does)
- Prime Wardrobe (try before you buy when shopping for clothes)
- Twitch Prime (Twitch Turbo benefits, plus free games every month)
- Exclusive discounts when shopping at Whole Foods Market
At $119/year, that’s the equivalent of $9.92 per month. Is there any other online subscription that offers this much goodness for such an affordable price? (Amazon Prime is also available on a month-to-month basis for $13/mo.)
If you don’t have Amazon Prime yet, grab a 30-day free trial and try it for yourself. Chances are you’ll love it!