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Amazon Prime is over 13 years old and still growing, entering a period of unrivaled global dominance. Once no more than a free shipping offer, Amazon Prime is now a multifaceted service many subscribers cannot live without.
But is Amazon Prime worth it? You could sign up for a 30-day free trial and see for yourself, but if you’re unsure, here’s everything you need to know to make an informed decision.
What Do You Get With Amazon Prime?
There are so many Amazon Prime benefits to love. You can pick up a Prime subscription in the UK, France, Japan, Canada, and several other countries, but you’ll have to check regional subscription fees. In this article, we focus on the US subscription.
Amazon Prime’s biggest perk is free shipping and free two-day deliveries. These perks are the backbone of Amazon Prime and part of why over 20 million people maintain their subscriptions. Also, Prime also reduces the costs of certain one-day deliveries and Saturday deliveries.
Amazon Prime’s second biggest (arguably biggest) draw is Prime Video. Amazon Prime Video is packed full of films and shows, as well as extremely well-received original programming such as The Man in the High Castle, Transparent, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and Mr. Robot. Amazon Studios even took home two Academy Awards for Manchester by the Sea.
For many, these two perks alone make the subscription worthwhile. There’s a lot more on offer, too, such as Twitch Prime, Prime Wardrobe, Prime Early Access, Prime Reading, Prime Photos, and much more.
Let’s take a closer look at the overall value of your Amazon Prime subscription.
How Much Does Amazon Prime Cost?
An Amazon Prime subscription costs $119/year up front. However, Amazon also offers a $12.99/month plan (for a full Prime membership) and an $8.99/month plan (for only Prime Video). There’s also a separate plan for Amazon Music Unlimited, more on that below.
How Much Is Amazon Prime for Students?
Prime Student comes with two major benefits:
- Students receive a six-month Prime Student free trial.
- After the trial, Prime Student only costs $6.49/month (as opposed to the $12.99/month full plan).
All you need is your .edu address to send your verification email address too. Learn more about the specific perks of an Amazon Prime Student account
Can I Share the Cost of Amazon Prime?
You sure can!
Amazon Household allows you and up to five family members (and four kids!) or buddies team-up to share the cost of an Amazon Prime account. Amazon Household breaks down like so:
- Two adults (ages 18 and over), each with their own Amazon account.
- Profiles for up to four teenagers (available for ages 13 through 17), which allow teens to have their own Amazon login to shop or stream content while still keeping their parents informed.
- Up to four child profiles (suggested for ages 12 and under), which they can use on Amazon experiences geared towards children like Amazon FreeTime; child profiles are not enabled to shop on Amazon.
The adults share their Prime benefits with the rest of the family.
Can I Give Amazon Prime as a Gift?
That’s another big yes! Hit up the Amazon Prime gifting page where you can choose from a three-month or full-year subscription.
What Does Amazon Prime 2-Day Shipping Mean?
Free two-day shipping is the perk that brought many people to Prime in the first place. But where does the real value in Amazon Prime’s two-day shipping costs lie?
Amazon dropped its regular free shipping trigger to $25, making it much easier for non-Prime subscribers to take advantage of. Items display “[price] & FREE Shipping” if it’s available, or “Eligible for FREE Shipping” in your basket. Check out the below example.
It qualifies for free shipping, but that takes over five days and up to eight. Two-day shipping—the key feature of Amazon Prime—comes in at $12.67 for this item. That makes nearly ten purchases before you recoup the cost of your subscription. However, free two-day shipping doesn’t apply to every item. And many items purchased through Amazon Prime are more expensive, which could increase your overall spending.
Of course, the difference might be made up for by shipping and isn’t likely to break anyone’s budget. But a few bucks here and there can add up, particularly for heavy Amazon users. Once you’re a Prime member, pricing for Prime-eligible vendors will be prioritized when you’re logged in, which means you may end up paying more unless you’re meticulous about checking deals offered by third-party vendors.
How About Free Same-Day and One-Day Delivery?
In recent years, Amazon upped the delivery game, offering free same-day and one-day delivery in certain ZIP codes.
- Free Same-Day: Order before midday, receive your item before 9pm. Items after midday arrives the following morning.
- Free One-Day: Order in the afternoon, is received before 9pm the following day.
Items must be marked “free-same day” for same-day delivery, and likewise for free one-day. You cannot mix and match. There are over 8,000 participating cities and towns across the continental US, and you can check your eligibility here.
However, Prime users should note that the free delivery only kicks in for orders over $35. Orders below that threshold cost up to $5.99 per item to deliver!
Furthermore, non-Prime members can make use of Same-Day and One-Day delivery, but it can cost up to $9.98 per item. At that point, is it easier to just drive to a store or use regular shipping? You have to weigh it up on an individual item basis.
Is Amazon Prime Video Worth It?
Amazon Prime Video is one of the main contenders to the Netflix video streaming crown. When you glance through the masses of award-winning original programming, it’s easy to see why. Prime Video functions similarly to Netflix, Hulu, and other popular video-on-demand services.
Prime Video is a core Prime subscription feature. However, you can grab a Prime Video-only subscription for $8.99/month—without the other perks of a full Prime account.
omg amazon prime video has the whole twilight saga. i know what I’ll be doing until 7 am bye
— Sarah (@sarahhalyssa) July 22, 2018
Considering a Prime Video-only subscription? Think twice. The $119/year fee equates to $9.91/month, so paying the extra $0.98 for free shipping isn’t even a question.
How does Prime Video compare to Netflix? Both Prime Video and Netflix see choices come and go as old contracts expire and new ones are inked. Both do a decent job of streaming recent blockbuster movies, and both have a good (but incomplete) selection of older television shows. Amazon has invested a huge amount into their original programming and it shows.
Want to try before you buy? Sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime Video!
What Are Amazon Channels?
Amazon Channels are an Amazon Prime subscriber service that allows you to select the content you want to watch—for a cost, of course.
For instance, here’s a short list of some popular Amazon Channels and their respective cost:
- HBO ($14.99/month)
- Showtime ($8.99/month)
- Cinemax ($9.99/month)
- Sundance Now ($6.99/month)
- Sports Illustrated TV ($4.99/month)
- History Vault ($4.99/month)
- Comedy Central Stand-Up ($3.99/month)
- PBS Masterpiece ($5.99/month)
- IndiePix Unlimited ($5.99/month)
- Smithsonian Earth ($3.99/month)
- Daily Burn ($14.99/month)
- PBS Kids ($4.99/month)
- Shudder ($4.99/month)
Although costly, Amazon Channels frequently updates content, and new channels are appearing all the time.
Is Amazon Prime Music Any Good?
Amazon Prime Music gives subscribers access to over 2 million ad-free tracks. Like Spotify, you can stream playlists curated by “music experts” or personalize your own radio stations.
Like Amazon Prime Video, Prime Music has consistently improved and is now a serious contender in the digital music subscription pantheon.
The basic Amazon Prime Music catalog is large but cannot hold a candle to other music streaming services like Spotify, Tidal, and Deezer.
However, like Amazon Prime Video, you can purchase a separate Amazon Music Unlimited subscription for $9.99/month. The Amazon Prime Unlimited subscription includes around 40 million ad-free tracks, making it a serious contender amongst the music streaming services.
If you’re interested, you can sign up for an Amazon Music free trial.
How Does Amazon Prime Pantry Work?
Amazon Prime Pantry is Amazon’s grocery and household product delivery service. You can order a vast range of bits and bobs for your home and have them delivered in a nice big box direct to your door.
The “Prime” title, for me, is a little misleading. Prime Pantry delivery isn’t included in the basic Prime subscription. Each Prime Pantry box you order costs $7.99. However, if you pick up a Prime Pantry membership at the cost of $4.99/month, each order over $40 comes with free delivery. That’s a combined cost of $17.98.
Existing Prime members can grab an Amazon Prime Pantry free trial.
Is AmazonFresh Free for Prime Members?
AmazonFresh is an Amazon Prime exclusive “perk.” Whereas Amazon Prime Pantry has a focus on every household item including groceries, AmazonFresh primarily focuses on fresh produce. That said, the lines are increasingly blurred. AmazonFresh also offers baby ointment, diapers, sports protein powders, razors, batteries, and much more.
In addition, AmazonFresh allows you to shop locally, or at least within your city. For instance, you can buy meat from local(ish) butchers in London. I say “ish” because the options are well-known butchers and delicatessens, but the idea is nice.
AmazonFresh schedule within one-hour slots if you’re at home, and three-hour slots if you want your produce left on the doorstep (in temperature-controlled bags). Orders over $50 are free to subscribers, but anything below that threshold receives a $9.99 delivery charge.
I tried @AmazonFresh last week when all my dairy went missing. Good enough selection, some broken eggs, but I'd do it again. I had no problem getting an attended delivery timeslot. Interesting factoid: @USPS delivers it! You'll get frozen water/dry ice paks to keep food cold.
— Claudia Karabaic Sargent (@CK_Sargent) July 26, 2018
An AmazonFresh subscription costs an extra $14.99/month on top of your Amazon Prime membership. The combined fee is $298.88 ($119 for the base Amazon Prime subscription plus $179.88 for AmazonFresh).
Want to give it a try? Sign up for an AmazonFresh free trial.
How Does Prime Now Work?
Prime Now is another specialized delivery perk for Amazon Prime subscribers. Like Free Same-Day and One-Day, Prime Now depends on your locale. If you are one of the lucky ones, a Prime Now delivery will arrive within two hours.
For an additional delivery charge, you can have your items within an hour (the delivery charge varies depending on your order).
Like many Amazon Prime features, Prime Now started small but now encompasses tens of thousands of items. You can order ice-cold beer, ready-made puddings and fresh produce from Whole Foods (owned by Amazon), laptops, smartphones, hand soap, and on, and on. Prime Now is like Prime Pantry after a really strong coffee.
Who said Amazon isn’t able to compete in every market? No-one, that’s who. Stepping up to compete with home-delivery apps such as Seamless and Grubhub, as well as eating into Uber Eats market share, Amazon Restaurants deliver from a wide range of restaurants on orders over $10.
Amazon Restaurants is available in the same locations as Prime Now.
Does Amazon Twitch Prime Get Free Stuff?
Amazon isn’t just music, video, and inflatable flamingos. Amazon bought video-game streaming service Twitch back in 2014, and the platform has continued to grow year-on-year. And while Twitch Prime is a little niche, it does offer some great loot for gamers.
For instance, Twitch Prime subscribers get ad-free viewing, an exclusive “chat badge,” and a new Twitch channel subscription to use every 30-days on Partnered/Affiliate channels (boosting the video game streamers income). Furthermore, Twitch Prime comes with exclusive in-game loot as well as frequent free games and DLC packs.
Is Audible Free for Amazon Prime Members?
Amazon’s Audible audiobook service also receives its own Amazon Prime perk. You won’t have access to the outstanding Audible range. But Amazon Prime members will have access to a rotating selection of audiobook.
To sweeten the deal, Prime members also receive access to a premium Audible Channels. Channels provide ad-free podcasts, audio versions of articles from major publications, comedy shows, and other original audio content.
Are There Any More Amazon Prime Perks?
Actually, there are. The cost of an Amazon Prime subscription may rise, but the number of perks rises with it. In short, here are a few more Amazon Prime perks to consider:
- Amazon Prime Day: Amazon Prime Day is Amazon’s way of saying thank you to its members… by encouraging us to buy more stuff! Irony aside, Prime Day is expanding each year to include better deals and more exclusive offers for members.
- Prime Photo: Unlimited cloud photo storage, plus more storage for documents. You can also invite family members to contribute to your unlimited photo storage to build the ultimate family collection.
- Prime Reading: Borrow books, magazines, and other literature from the Prime Reading catalog.
- Amazon Elements: Amazon’s line of everyday essentials, exclusive to Prime members, featuring vitamins, protein powders, baby wipes, and more.
- Prime Wardrobe: Taking aim at online clothing retailers, Prime Wardrobe allows you to try on clothing at home, then send it back if you’re not happy. Purchase more than $200 of clothing, and you’ll receive a $20 discount, too.
- Amazon FreeTime Unlimited: Amazon FreeTime Unlimited is a comprehensive subscription to children’s content: books, shows, movies, educational apps, and much more. Parents use a separate overview app to control and monitor screen time limits, age-content filters, and more.
- Free No-Rush Shipping: Not everyone knows this, but if an Amazon Prime subscriber doesn’t need their item straight away, you can choose Free No-Rush Shipping. Why would you do that if you already pay for expedited delivery? Well, Amazon throws in some neat bonuses for those that can relax about their delivery.
- EBT and Medicaid Discount: Citizens receiving EBT or Medicaid can pick up an Amazon Prime membership for $5.99/month.
Is Amazon Prime Worth It?
I certainly think so. Amazon continues to add perks and features to the Amazon Prime package to increase the overall value. And even if you’re an infrequent Amazon shopper, free two-day shipping is a lifesaver at times.