What is Amazon Prime? Cost, Benefits & Free Guide Explained

Amazon Prime

If you’re not a Prime member, you’re undoubtedly wondering what Amazon Prime is and whether it’s worth the money. Amazon Prime is about more than just faster shipping. It is a subscription program that provides members access to various Amazon benefits. Among the benefits are fast shipping, exclusive access to Prime Day specials, free movie streaming, and access to other services.

For many customers, Amazon Prime is a no-brainer for the shipping benefits. But, conversely, Amazon has hiked its charges from $119 to $139 per year. Month-to-month pricing has also increased from $12.99 to $14.99. It’s a challenging sale at a time when customers are tightening their belts.

We don’t blame you if you’re afraid to join the 200 million Amazon Prime members. To help you make an informed decision, we’ve broken down what Amazon Prime is and all the benefits of becoming a member. Here is everything you want to know about Amazon Prime, from access to Amazon specials to speedy shipping.

Prime Day 2022 and Amazon Prime

Prime Day will begin at 3 a.m. ET on Tuesday, July 12. Hundreds of offers on Amazon items such as Kindles, Fire TVs, and Echo speakers will be available throughout the 48-hour event. In addition, Amazon releases new discounts daily, so follow our Prime Day deals coverage for the best prices throughout the event.

What exactly is Amazon Prime?

Amazon Prime is a monthly subscription service that costs $14.99 or $139 per year. Prime members get numerous benefits. The most significant use, though, is a free one- or two-day shipping on most Amazon products. The corporation claimed last year that it has over 200 million paying Prime members worldwide. So, if you’ve ever wondered what Amazon Prime is, this should help.

Amazon Prime Video Gaming

Amazon Prime Gaming is a fantastic benefit for gamers. Prime Members can visit the Prime Gaming landing page (which opens in a new tab) to get exclusive in-game loot, free monthly PC games (that you own forever), and a free Twitch subscription. For gamers who remember Twitch Prime, Amazon Prime Gaming is a rebranded version of the program they once knew and loved. But, of course, if you have Amazon Prime, you already have Amazon Prime Gaming, so go check it out right now.

Amazon Prime and the PlayStation 5

If you’re looking for PS5 replenishment, being a Prime member may come in handy. Amazon staged its first PS5 replenishment for Prime members only in September. Amazon produced PS5, and Xbox Series X drops for Prime members in December. (They were gone in minutes.) Another PS5 decrease occurred in March, followed by another on April 19. All of the drops were only available to Prime members.

Prime Video on Amazon

One of the most valuable benefits of being an Amazon Prime member is access to Amazon Prime Video. Prime Video provides limitless streaming of movies and TV episodes for paid or free trial users in the United States and Puerto Rico. In addition, video subscriptions to services such as Showtime, Starz, A&E, AMC, and more. Other streaming entertainment channels can also be added. Indeed, Prime customers may now take advantage of a 30-day free trial of Paramount Plus (opens in new tab). In addition, Amazon is continuously adding new content to its Prime Video library. Visit About Prime Video for additional details (opens in a new tab).

However, if you anticipate traveling abroad, Amazon will restrict your viewing. In that scenario, an Amazon Prime VPN is worth having so you can change your location and view whatever you pay for, no matter where you are.

Walmart Plus vs. Amazon Prime

Amazon’s main competitor has created its membership club. Walmart Plus is the retailer’s counterpart to Amazon Prime. The $98-a-year program includes fast delivery of Walmart purchases, early access to promotions, six free months of Spotify Premium, and gasoline reductions at Walmart fueling stations.

Best Buy Totaltech vs. Amazon Prime

Best Purchase Totaltech is a new membership service that aims to compete with Amazon Prime. Best Buy’s subscription costs $199.99 a year and includes unlimited free delivery, 24/7 tech support, free in-home installation of select products, and 2-year warranty protection on most Best Buy purchases. (On Apple purchases, the latter includes Apple Care.) Because the experimental program is only offered in a few places, it’s too early to determine how it will affect Prime members. However, its higher admission charge may make selling to current Prime members difficult.

Shopping with Alexa

Prime members now enjoy a new benefit. Amazon’s digital assistant may now tell Prime members of upcoming promotions on products they have marked as favorites. Of course, a more recent version Echo smart speaker or bright display is required. Nonetheless, it might be a nice reward for current Prime subscribers. Here’s how to have Alexa alert you of forthcoming sales.

Amazon Prime Advantages

Although the entrance is not inexpensive, there are numerous benefits to having an Amazon Prime membership. Prime members, for example, receive a 10% discount on some Whole Foods purchases. In addition, Amazon has increased its Whole Foods deals by introducing new weekly price cuts that save customers an average of 20% on in-season vegetables, meat, seafood, and other products.

Amazon announced in October that Prime members would receive free Amazon Fresh delivery (opens in a new tab) on orders of $35 or more. Amazon Fresh asked Prime members to pay an additional $14.99 per month. On the other hand, Fresh will now be free for Prime members who have previously utilized the program. (Members who have never used Amazon Fresh must request an invitation before taking advantage of the free delivery.)

Prime users also save on digital services such as FreeTime Unlimited (opens in a new tab), which costs $2.99 per month for Prime members and $4.99 per month for non-members. In addition, if you receive an Amazon Prime delivery late, Amazon will make every effort to make it right.

Amazon Prime can also help students. If you are a two- or four-year college student with a valid.edu email, you can sign up for a free six-month trial of Amazon Prime Student(opens in new tab), which includes all of the perks of Prime and student-specific promotions and coupons. After your trial period expires, Prime Student will be half the price of a standard Prime subscription for up to four years or until you graduate, whichever comes first.

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Prime Student membership now includes a discount on Music Unlimited, the subscription streaming service that usually costs $7.99 a month for Prime subscribers. For an additional $0.99, those college students can add Unlimited’s 50-million track catalog (which exceeds Prime Music’s 2 million counts).

These are just a few of Amazon Prime’s many benefits. However, Prime membership encompasses more than just discounts. All of your queries about Prime membership are answered below. Here’s also how to cancel an Amazon order.

Q.: Why should I sign up for Amazon Prime?

A.: Amazon provides several reasons why people who visit its website may wish to subscribe to Prime. Here are a few examples.

Shipping

Free two-day shipping on eligible purchases to addresses in the contiguous United States and other shipping advantages. Visit Amazon Prime Shipping Benefits for additional details (opens in a new tab).

In eligible ZIP codes, same-day delivery is free—order with Prime Free Same-Day Delivery for additional information (opens in a new tab).

Amazon Fresh: With the suspension of Prime Pantry, Amazon Fresh is one of the e-key tailer’s food/grocery delivery services. Amazon Fresh allows Prime members to buy food, daily necessities, household products, and more. So, the service is free for Prime members and is only offered in a few cities. You can request an invitation by clicking here (it opens in a new tab).

Same-Day Delivery: Amazon offers one-hour delivery on thousands of products from local stores in select cities. In New York City, for example, you can get beer, wine, and spirits delivered from Westside Market, Union Square Wines, or Vintage Grape. In addition, Amazon increased same-day delivery(opens in new tab) to six new cities in August 2021, including Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Tampa, Charlotte, and Houston.

Amazon Prime discounts

Deals and Discounts from the Amazon Family include a 20% discount on diapers via Subscribe & Save and a 15% discount on eligible products from your baby registry. Get 20% off Diaper Subscriptions (opens in new tab) or About the Completion Discount for more information (opens in new tab).

Prime Early Access: Get 30-minute early access to Amazon.com Lightning Deals and new MyHabit.com events. Visit About Prime Early Access for additional details (opens in a new tab).

Amazon Prime members now receive a $10 credit when they pre-order select video games. Previously, Amazon discounted new, physical video games by 20% during the pre-order stage.

Kindle First: Members in the United States have early access to a new book every month for free from the Kindle First selections. Visit Kindle First for more details (opens in a new tab).

Parents will save money on FreeTime Unlimited, which adds plenty of kid-friendly material to your account. Members of Amazon Prime pay $2.99 per month, while non-members pay $4.99.

Whole Foods: Prime members receive significant savings at Whole Foods locations across the country. Prime members can also get free 2-hour Whole Foods delivery through the company’s Prime Now(opens in new tab). Unfortunately, deliveries are only offered in a few cities. Remember that Amazon is now charging a $10 service fee in specific cities.

Prime members with an Amazon Rewards Visa Card(opens in new tab) can get 5% back on Amazon.com purchases, 2% back in restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% on all other transactions. You can also get 5% back on your Whole Foods purchases. (Non-Prime members will receive a 3% refund.) Amazon cardholders can also get up to 20% back on certain purchases. For example, the shop is giving 10% off various Sony televisions (opens in new tab).

Just for Prime: Amazon features a Just for Prime area on its website. Here you’ll find exclusive bargains available only to Prime members. The items on sale vary from electronics to home and kitchen appliances. In addition, you can review some deals here (opens in a new tab).

Entertainment includes Prime Video, Music, Photos, and more.

Prime Video: Unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows in the United States and Puerto Rico for paid or free trial subscribers. Video subscriptions to Showtime, Starz, A&E, AMC, and other streaming entertainment channels can also be added. In addition, Amazon is continuously adding new content to its Prime Video library. Visit About Prime Video for additional details (opens in a new tab).

Prime Music: the United States and Puerto Rico members have unlimited, ad-free access to hundreds of Prime Playlists and over a million songs. Visit About Prime Music for additional details (opens in a new tab). Did you know you can also receive Amazon Music for free on your Echo?

Amazon Cloud Drive offers unlimited photo storage with Prime Photos. Visit About Prime Photos for more details. If you can wait until the holidays, you should be able to discover a promotion that gives you a $10 Amazon credit for uploading images to the Amazon cloud.

Kindle Owners’ Lending Library: Available to members in the United States. Visit the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library for additional information.

Subscriptions to third-party streaming applications are available through Amazon Prime, allowing you to store all your video content in one location. You can, for example, add Showtime Anytime and HBO Go to your account.

Free Games with Prime Gaming: With Prime Gaming, formerly Twitch Prime, Amazon provides a range of free games and in-game goodies. Prime members also receive free in-game content for certain mobile games, such as PUBG Mobile.

Additional Prime member benefits

Amazon Elements: 

Access to Amazon Elements products, Amazon’s brand of everyday needs.

Membership Sharing: Two adults in the same household can set up an Amazon Household to enjoy some Amazon Prime perks. Visit About Amazon Households for additional details (opens in a new tab).

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Q.: Do I have exclusive access to deals?

A.: Yes. Amazon routinely offers exclusive bargains to Prime subscribers. Similarly, when Amazon refilled its Nintendo Switch inventory a few years back, the device was only available to Prime subscribers. It could be a precursor to Amazon becoming more like Costco or Walmart, requiring membership before you can shop.

Similarly, Amazon’s Elements(opens in a new tab) product line is only available to Prime members. The product selection includes everything from baby wipes to vitamins. But, the notion is that Amazon goes out of its way to tell you where the product came from. (In the case of those wipes, I can tell you that the liquid inside is 97.9% pharmaceutical-grade filtered water sourced from the White Lick Creek Aquifer in Moorseville, Indiana.)

You can earn money toward music, movie, and e-book purchases if you choose free, no-rush delivery (which can take five to seven days). In addition, if a Prime-eligible delivery comes after the two-day shipping promise and you contact customer service, Amazon may extend your Prime membership for another month.

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Q.: What is the cost of Amazon Prime?

A.: Now that you understand what Amazon Prime is, it’s time to look at the prices. Amazon Prime membership costs $119 per year or $12.99 per month. You can cancel your annual subscription within the first 30 days.

Students, on the other hand, can benefit from significant price reductions. Many of the same Prime perks apply to Amazon Student accounts, and it’s free for the first six months. Following that, you must subscribe to Prime at a 50% discount. Students can get free delivery during the six-month trial period, but they will be unable to access streaming video and music or borrow Kindle books. They will, however, enjoy full Prime privileges if they want to subscribe at the discounted price later. They’ll also access exclusive promotions, such as pre-order discounts on video games.

Q.: Is it possible to give Amazon Prime as a gift?

A.: Yes. Go to Amazon Prime’s gifting page (which opens in a new tab), add it to your cart, and follow the instructions to learn how to give a yearlong subscription to a friend or family member. Before you check out, ensure the box that says “This purchase is a present” is checked in your cart, and you may fill in the rest of the information when you pay.

Q.: What exactly is Prime Day?

A.: Prime Day debuted in 2015 to commemorate Amazon’s 20th anniversary. The sale was so successful that Amazon made it an annual summer event. In addition, Amazon increased the deal to 36 hours in 2018, making it the most extended Prime Day ever. This year’s Prime Day 2019 lasted 48 hours, and Amazon said it sold more than 175 million goods worldwide, surpassing the combined sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. See our Amazon Prime Day page for a recap of the summer sale.

What exactly are Amazon Households?

A.: Amazon Households allow up to four children and two adults to share digital Amazon content. In addition, two adults living in the same house can share Amazon Prime perks such as two-day shipping, streaming video, and access to the Kindle Lending Library. Follow the Amazon assistance website steps to add or delete oneself from a household (opens in a new tab).

Q.: What items are eligible for free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime?

A.: Most of Amazon’s products are eligible for free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime. Treadmills and basketball hoops, for example, qualify for free standard shipment instead. Items sold by third parties (through Amazon Marketplace) are not eligible for free shipping unless the seller states otherwise.

Q.: What Kindle books are available for loan?

A.: According to Amazon, the Kindle Lending Library contains over 1 million books. To determine if a book qualifies, search for it on your Kindle device, Kindle app, or the Amazon website, and look for the Prime emblem next. If so, a Prime membership allows you to borrow it for one month. Otherwise, you will have to pay the old-fashioned way.

Q.: What exactly is Amazon Prime Music?

A.: Amazon Prime Music (opens in a new tab) is a music streaming service akin to Spotify or Pandora. Users can choose which albums or songs to stream or let Amazon develop a personalized profile for them based on their preferences. The service recently has more than two million songs, but its collection pales in contrast to those of Spotify and Pandora. Amazon Prime users can also download and listen to these songs online (as long as their Prime membership remains active). It’s most recent offering, Music Unlimited(opens in a new tab), provides access to “tens of millions” of songs and weekly new releases. If you possess an Amazon Echo, you can subscribe to this service for $3.99 per month, but you will only be able to stream on your Echo device. You can stream on all of your devices for $7.99 per month.

Q: What exactly is Twitch Prime?

A.: While most gamers are familiar with Twitch, the prominent game-streaming broadcast service, they may be unaware of Twitch Prime. Amazon Prime members also have access to Twitch Prime, which allows them to view Twitch streams without interruption. Other incentives include monthly in-game bonuses and “Free Games With Prime,” a selection of free titles for Prime members. In addition, Amazon announced that Prime members would receive free in-game material for select mobile games (opens in a new tab), beginning with PUBG Mobile in-game goodies. The in-game material will be compatible with titles from EA, Moonton, Netmarble, Wargaming Mobile, and others.

Q.: What exactly is Prime Now?

A.: Prime Now (opens in a new tab) is an iOS and Android app and a website that guarantees free delivery of chosen items within 2 hours. Initially, the service was limited to a few locations, including New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Phoenix, but the program constantly expanded.

The products available are primarily groceries, toiletries, and modest gifts, although this should change as Amazon adds more local partners. You can even have your favorite eateries deliver food to you. For example, Eataly, Westside Market, Gourmet Garage, Vintage Grape Wine & Spirits, and Billy’s Bakery are among the participating businesses in New York City. If you need it immediately, you can pay an additional $7.99 for one-hour delivery. Check the Prime Now website to determine if your neighborhood is within Prime Now’s delivery range. (Opens in a new window)

Q: What exactly is Amazon Prime Video?

A.: Amazon Prime Video is Amazon Prime’s streaming-video component. Amazon Prime, like Netflix and Hulu, provides unlimited streaming of thousands of movies and TV series. However, unlike its competitors, Amazon Prime allows for a la carte rentals and sales of its content. You can subscribe to Prime Video for $8.99 each month.

Mozart in the Jungle, Transparent, and The Man in the High Castle are among the original series available on Amazon Prime. In addition, users can watch classic HBO shows, including The Sopranos, Eastbound & Down, and Veep’s first season. New shows are uploaded regularly, much like Netflix.

With Prime membership, you also receive access to ala carte Amazon Channels subscriptions, allowing you to pick and choose the networks you want to watch while not paying for anything you don’t. HBO, Starz, Showtime, PSS Masterpiece, Magnolia Selects, Britbox, and Acorn TV have subscriptions.

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