Table of Contents
- Free one-day shipping and much, much more
- A holiday bonanza
- Why all the deals?
- But what about for just Black Friday?
- Is Amazon Prime worth it?
- How much does Amazon Prime cost?
- What do you get with Amazon Prime?
- How fast can I get items delivered using Amazon Prime?
- Is Amazon Prime good value?
- Can I share my Amazon Prime membership?
- Can I cancel Amazon Prime?
- What sort of offers are on Amazon?
- How can I start a free trial?
- How much does an Amazon Prime membership cost?
- What’s included in my membership?
- Does Amazon Prime Day live up to the hype?
- Just tell me, is it worth it to sign up?
- The bottom line: It’s worth it if you use Amazon a lot.
- Is Amazon Prime Worth It?
- But, let’s get the obvious out of the way first: Amazon Prime gives you free shipping on a lot of things
- Free Prime Video Streaming
- Free Prime Music Streaming
- Free Prime Reading
- Discounts and deals just for Prime Members
- Early Access to Lightning Deals
- Access to Prime Pantry
- Unlimited Photo storage on Amazon Cloud
- Shareable Prime benefits for family members
- Savings for gamers
- Prime Now
- Free Audible Channels
- How can you save on Amazon Prime?
- So, is Amazon Prime worth it?
- What do you guys think — Is Amazon Prime worth it?
- Where to get Amazon Prime
- What is included with Amazon Prime?
- Is Amazon Prime worth the price?
- Is Amazon Prime Instant Video better than the competition?
- What does Prime Music offer?
- The Amazon Prime Kindle eBook library
- The verdict on Amazon Prime
- What are the benefits of Amazon Prime?
- Is an Amazon Prime membership worth it?
- Amazon Prime: Is It Worth the Cost?
- Amazon Prime Membership
- Free Two-Day/Expedited Shipping
- Prime Music
- Prime Video
- Amazon Drive
- Prime Reading
- Twitch Prime
- Amazon Prime Value Calculator: Adding It All Up
- Purchasing Your Amazon Prime Membership: Discounts
- Extra Amazon Prime Benefits: Tips, Tricks, & Tools
- Amazon Device Tips
- Amazon Prime Day: Everything you need to know
- What is Prime Day?
- Plan your shopping in advance
- What to add to your Prime Day shopping list
- Look for sales from other retailers
- Use your cards to make the most of Prime Day
- About Amazon Prime
- Is Amazon Prime worth it at $119 a year?
- Yearly vs monthly prices
- Shipping perks
- Video streaming services
- Music streaming services
- Kindle and Audible perks
- Twitch benefits
- Odds and ends
- Breaking down the numbers
No one knows for sure how many consumers are members of Amazon.com’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Prime loyalty program. The company broke a long silence in early 2018 to say subscriber rolls had topped 100 million worldwide, but that was the last official figure Amazon released about its Prime membership.
While Amazon hasn’t provided any updates, it’s currently estimated that 105 million — or 82% of the 127 million of U.S. households — have an Amazon Prime account, according to market research company Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP).
With Black Friday and the ensuing holiday shopping season kicking off in just a week, the question many of the holdouts are asking themselves is “Should I finally sign up for Amazon Prime?”
Image source: Amazon.com.
Free one-day shipping and much, much more
The biggest draw for many consumers is the expedited shipping — and Amazon recently took its delivery-speed up a notch. After providing two-day or faster shipping for years, Prime customers can now get millions of items in just one day. That can be a big incentive for those who want to avoid the soul-crushing experience of Black Friday bargain hunting and the hordes of customers at big-box stores and shopping malls.
While expedited shipping is the most publicized benefit of Prime membership, there are many more. In an era where streaming video increasingly becomes the norm rather than the exception, Prime members gain access to a growing library of award-winning Amazon Originals, a catalog of popular older movies and television programs, and a host of live events — all included with membership. The platform also makes it easy to sign up for more than 100 partner channels, including Showtime and AT&T’s HBO and Cinemax, as well as niche favorites like IFC, AMC Network’s Shudder, and Britbox — and watch them all in one place.
For music lovers, Amazon offers Prime Music, providing unlimited ad-free access to more than 2 million popular songs and hundreds of Prime playlists. Members also get discounts on Amazon Music Unlimited, which offers more than 50 million songs for the serious audiophile at $7.99 per month for Prime subscribers, a 20% discount off the regular price.
Amazon also offers benefits for gaming enthusiasts via Twitch, the world’s leading live streaming platform for gamers. Twitch.TV users who link their Amazon Prime account get a free Twitch channel subscription each month and exclusive access to free gaming content. Members also receive exclusive discounts on preorder games.
Then there’s Amazon Prime Day. Billed as the company’s “Black Friday in July,” the customer-appreciation day sale — which stretched to 48 hours in 2019 — offers some of the company’s best deals of the year, with a rotating list of deeply discounted products and new flash sales every hour.
A holiday bonanza
While the everyday benefits offer plenty of enticement for customers to join Prime, the holiday deals may provide the biggest incentive. While the holiday shopping season officially begins on Black Friday, Amazon offers more than a week of deals and discounts, which kick off on Friday, Nov. 22. The company is offering a laundry list of its most popular items at big discounts, including the Fire 7 tablet for $29 (40% off), $50 on the Echo Show 8 for $99, and the Echo Dot for $35, 30% off the retail price.
The tech giant is also offering steep discounts on a laundry list of televisions, smartphones, electronics, toys and games, apparel, and more — with far too many deals to list here — at savings of between 15% and 60%.
Image source: Getty Images.
Why all the deals?
All retailers offer a host of deals for the holidays, so why does Amazon offer so many other benefits to its Prime subscribers? The answer is simple economics. Once they lay out the annual membership fee, Prime customers want to get their money’s worth, spending an average of $1,400 per year, more than double the $600 nonmembers spend, according to data earlier this year from CIRP.
Subscriber renewal rates improve over time, too. Sixty-four percent of trial members convert to a paid membership, 93% of members renew after the first year, and 98% continued their subscription after two years.
But what about for just Black Friday?
One of the most appealing points about Amazon Prime for holiday shoppers is the 30-day free trial. Customers can sign up, avail themselves of all the holiday deals — which are only a keystroke away — and cancel within a month if they’re not satisfied.
To get in on the deals, Amazon customers pay $119 per year or $12.99 per month, so it’s easy to see why consumers flock to the program, given the slew of benefits that come with membership.
Consumers truly have nothing to lose — and plenty to save — by signing up for the free-trial. Who knows? Once customers sign up for the holiday deals and see how easy it is to avoid the traffic and crowded stores, you may just stick around, as I did.
Is Amazon Prime worth it?
You’ll know of Amazon – that’s a given – but have you heard of Amazon Prime? It’s the firm’s premium subscription service, offering benefits such as next-day delivery, early access to Lightning Deals and unlimited streaming of TV shows, movies and music.
But is it worth paying extra for? Our guide outlines exactly what you get for your money, the best way to pay and whether it offers good value for money.
How much does Amazon Prime cost?
In the UK, you can choose to pay a yearly rate of £79 for Prime (which works out at £6.58 a month), or you can pay monthly for £7.99 (which works out at £95.88 a year).
It’s worth noting that new Amazon Prime customers can register for a 30 day free trial. This turns into £7.99 a month once the trial is up – and you have to register your card details – but you can cancel any time.
Occasionally Amazon might offer a discounted rate for yearly membership of Prime. This doesn’t happen very often, but hold out long enough and you might be able to buy a year’s membership for £59 – £20 cheaper than usual.
Students can register for Prime for half price, meaning you’ll pay £3.99 a month for Prime Student, or £39 a year (equal to £3.25 a month). There are often offers on, too – at the time of writing, you can have a six-month free trial of Prime Student.
If you’re only interested in watching Amazon’s Netflix-style TV show and movie streaming service, Amazon Video, you can subscribe solely to that for £5.99 a month.
What do you get with Amazon Prime?
- Free one-day delivery on millions of items
- Free same-day delivery on eligible items to eligible postcodes
- Unlimited streaming of TV shows and films via Prime Video
- Unlimited, secure photo storage in Amazon Cloud Drive with Prime Photos
- Stream music using Prime Music
- Buy groceries through Amazon Pantry
- Borrow one book per month using the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library
How fast can I get items delivered using Amazon Prime?
The majority of items sold by Amazon can be delivered next day for free if you’re an Amazon Prime customer. That’s as long as it’s in stock – if it’s not, you’ll be notified of this when you attempt to order it including details of how long delivery should take.
Prime Now is even faster, with more than 20,000 items available to be delivered within two hours in certain postcodes. This includes areas of Greater London, Liverpool, leeds, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Birmingham and Bristol.
If you’re not in a hurry for an item, you can opt for no-rush delivery. This takes three to five working days and gives you a promotional credit you can use to use on Amazon, e.g. on Prime Video or Prime Music.
Is Amazon Prime good value?
This essentially comes down to how often you use it. If you’re already subscribed to Netflix, you might find that Amazon Video does the same job and, for the same price as the standard Netflix tariff, you get all the extra benefits offered by Prime.
If you’re a regular Amazon customer, you can pay as much as £4.49 for standard delivery. If you order two or more items a month, you’ll probably save money by paying for Prime – and then there’s the obvious perk of getting most items delivered next day.
If you have full Amazon Prime membership (i.e. not Prime Student or Amazon Video membership), you can share many of the perks including free next-day delivery with one other adult using Amazon Household.
Can I cancel Amazon Prime?
Sometimes you may be reluctant to sign up to a service like Amazon Prime in case you change your mind and find it difficult to unsubscribe. Fortunately, Amazon makes it very easy to cancel Prime membership – just sign into your account, scroll to Manage Your Amazon Prime Membership and click ‘end membership’.
There’s no minimum term for Amazon Prime – you can cancel it at any time.
What sort of offers are on Amazon?
Below are a selection of today’s latest offers from Amazon. Click through to see all of our picked offers.
See all Amazon offers >>>
How can I start a free trial?
Amazon has come a long way since its early days as just an online bookstore. Since launching in 1995, the store has grown into a staple that sells literally everything.
Over 100 million people have taken their love of the brand to the next level by signing up for a little something called Amazon Prime. For $119 per year (or $13 per month), the subscription service gives members access to thousands of movies and songs to stream, groceries delivered to your door, free two-day shipping, and so much more.
But is it really worth it to add another subscription to your plate? Our experts say it depends. Let’s break down what the service is all about.
How much does an Amazon Prime membership cost?
A basic Amazon Prime membership costs $119 per year. If you want to break the payments up, you can also choose an option that costs $13 per month. Before paying anything, know that you can get a free 30-day trial. Just make sure you cancel before the month is up or you’ll be charged for the membership amount.
SIGN UP Amazon Prime, $119, amazon.com
If you’re a student with a .edu email address, you’ll get a pretty steep discount on your Prime membership. Amazon Student is free for the first six months and costs $60 per year after that. During your trial, you’ll only have access to free shipping on Prime eligible items, but you’ll be able to access full Prime benefits — like video and music streaming — after that.
What’s included in my membership?
You know about two-day shipping and music streaming, but a Prime account comes with so many more bonuses to make your life easier. You can find a complete list of perks here, but in the meantime, here are some of the highlights:
For those days when you just don’t want to leave the house, all hail Prime Now. Select cities can get thousands of household items, restaurant picks, and more via free two-hour delivery.
Free TV and Movies
Netflix is so last year. Prime Video offers access to thousands of popular TV shows and movies (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel or The Big Sick, anyone?). Upgrade and get a premium on-demand subscription for Stars, HBO, and more.
Prime Samples lets you buy mini-sized version of food, vitamins, and more for around $2 to $4 a pop. If you like something, apply the money spent to the full-size purchase.
For an extra $14.99 per month, Amazon Fresh delivers your shopping list picks from a local grocery store (including Whole Foods!) directly to your door.
Prime members also get exclusive access to Amazon’s massive Prime Day sale, which is basically Black Friday in July.
Does Amazon Prime Day live up to the hype?
Yes, Amazon Prime Day is a BIG DEAL. The online sale exclusive to Prime members offers over a million rapid-fire deals on TVs, smart home gadgets, kitchen items, groceries, toys, fashion, furniture, appliances, back-to-school supplies, and everyday essentials. This year it starts on July 16 at 3 p.m. EST and will run over the course of 36 hours.
Here’s everything you need to know about the main event.
Just tell me, is it worth it to sign up?
Before taking the plunge and committing to a yearly or even monthly membership, Rachel Rothman, the chief technologist in the Good Housekeeping Institute recommends asking yourself these four questions:
- Does it make sense for where you live? Many perks like Prime Now are only available in certain cities. If you live in a more rural area, you’ll want to check Amazon’s policy to see if the perks you’re most excited about will be available to you.
- Will your savings outweigh the cost of your membership? Shipping costs can really add up if you’re ordering everything from Amazon. Generally, if you plan to order 25 or more packages in a year, you’ll save enough on shipping costs to pay for your membership. You may also be able to cancel your music, television, or movie streaming service all together if you’re satisfied with Amazon’s offerings.
- Do you have kids? Enrolling in Amazon Family — a service only offered to Prime Members — gives you access to family-oriented offers and coupons. You can also get up to 20% off subscriptions to diapers, baby food, and more, and a 15% Baby Registry completion discount.
- Do you need super-fast delivery? If you have a busy schedule, having your groceries or other household items delivered right to your door could save you wasted time stopping at the store.
One guaranteed way to find out if a membership is worth it: test it out! “Try the free trial and see if you use the membership to its full potential,” says Rothman. If you find that you’re relying more on Netflix and Spotify for streaming and still hitting up your local convenience store for household items, Amazon Prime may not be worth it. Just remember to cancel before your 30 days are up if you decide the membership isn’t for you.
You also might want to consider these other options:
Order in bulk and get free fast shipping. Orders arrive to most states in an average of 2-days. Plus, get free samples delivered!
Get free two-day shipping on all orders over $35. You’ll also pay less when you add easily-packable items to your cart.
You’ll get free 2-day shipping on select items as well as free standard shipping for all orders over $35.
Get next day delivery with Target Restock and free two-day shipping when you use your Target REDcard or spend more than $35.
Amazon Prime offers some pretty sweet perks to its members like free two-day shipping, music and movie streaming, discounts and more, but the $119 price tag is really only worth it if you plan to milk your subscription. If you’re also using another streaming service for your entertainment and prefer to do most of your shopping in stores, signing up may not be for you. On the flip side, if you do plan to order most things from the online super store, your savings on shipping alone could cover your membership fee.
SIGN UP Amazon Prime, $119, amazon.com
Lindsey Murray Trends & Reviews Editor Lindsey works with the Good Housekeeping Institute to test and review products like appliances, bedding, baby items, and more
Photo: Stock Catalog (Flickr)
If you’re not already an Amazon Prime member, the service’s price hikes from $79 to $99 and most recently to $119 might have you wondering if it’s even worth signing up.
Sure, you’d like to get your packages quickly. But is it worth spending more than $100 per year on top of what you’ll spend on the actual items you buy?
If you ask members of Amazon Prime, many of them will argue endlessly on behalf of the service. That said, not everyone ought to sign up.
You’ll benefit from the service if you purchase items from Amazon 10-20 times per year, average under $25 per order, and care about getting your stuff in less than a week.
You’ll also benefit if you want to pay for Amazon’s streaming video or streaming music services, which they include as a membership benefit. As a result, you get three very different services that make it difficult to assess Prime’s actual value. In the end, you’ll find the service worth it if any of those benefit proves even remotely useful to you. There are also two services, Wardrobe and Photos, that aren’t as well known but are worth a look.
Let’s break down both services to get a more specific idea of what $119 per year gets you.
Prime shipping benefits
Amazon Prime’s shipping benefits only matter to those who care about how fast you get your stuff. If you consider yourself reasonably patient, know that your patience must last you a good week or so. Anyone can get free shipping from Amazon if they order $25 or more from the online retailer. While this option costs you nothing outright, it takes 5-10 business days (on average) to receive your items—except when you preorder certain products that offer free release date delivery. If you never find yourself struggling to meet the $25 minimum, you don’t mind waiting, you don’t need Prime’s shipping benefits.
But let’s say you want your stuff faster than 5-10 business days and sometimes you find yourself searching for items that cost $2.98 so you can hit the free shipping threshold. Will Prime save you money? Take a look:
- Standard shipping costs a minimum of $5.99 per shipment. Standard shipping can take about a calendar week to arrive.
- If you want your items quicker, you can often pay for two-day or one-day or same day shipping, although not all options are available for all items. Two-day shipping typically costs $8.98 and one-day or same-day shipping usually costs $9.98.
- Some sellers that fulfill and ship their own inventory charge shipping fees, meaning that even if you hit the $25 order minimum, you will still have to pay to have some items shipped.
So what does this all amount to? It really depends on your individual usage and how fast you want your stuff. Standard shipping has half the lead time of the free shipping you get for orders over $25, but it doesn’t offer a huge advantage for a service that costs more. Two-day, on the other hand, costs quite a bit more but offers significant time savings.
If you order from Amazon 20 times per year and pay for standard shipping each time, you’ll break even if you get Prime. If you opt for expedited shipping always, or even most of the time, you’ll save a lot of money. In the end, it comes down to how fast you want your stuff. If you can’t wait a week, Prime’s included two-day (and now, often just one-day) shipping more than pays for itself.
These numbers can change quickly, however, if you share your Prime membership with others. Because Prime allows you to invite another adult in your household—not that Amazon actually prevents you from inviting someone across the country—you could split the costs with others and pay $60 per year for your benefits. If you do this, getting Prime is pretty much a no-brainer.
Netflix charges a monthly fee of $8.99 per month, which comes out to $107.88 per year. Hulu starts at $5.99 per month, for a yearly total of $71.88. Amazon Prime costs $119 per year, which comes out to about $9.92 per month. Putting aside the shipping benefits you get with Prime, you pay about the same for Netflix, and less for Hulu. If the services had the same library of options, you could justify a Prime membership in an instant. Things get a little more complicated because Prime lets you stream some content but charges for others. Beyond its own shows like Homecoming, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Fleabag, and Catastrophe, Amazon is also known for having a solid selection of movies.
Even if you don’t shop much, Amazon Prime could be worth it for the streaming video options alone.
Amazon Prime members get ad-free streaming access to two million songs with Prime Music. If you break it down by month, Prime costs $9.92 while Spotify, Apple Music, or Pandora each cost $9.99. Prime users can pay an additional $7.99 per month for Prime Unlimited access to 50 million songs, versus the non-Prime price of $9.99 per month.
If you don’t already pay for one of these competing services, you may be happy with Amazon’s selection. You could justify your Prime membership even if you just want to stream music.
Prime users get unlimited high-resolution photo storage and 5GB of video storage with their membership. The drawback is that you only get photo storage, instead of various types of files.
Most other services like Apple, Dropbox, and Google will cost $10 per month for substantial storage space (around 2 TB), including Amazon’s cloud add-on service. It’s nice to have a place to stash your photos if you plan to maintain your Prime membership, but it alone isn’t a reason to sign up.
Prime members can select two or more eligible clothing items to be shipped for a seven-day home try-on period. Your payment method gets charged after you decide which items to keep and which to send back. It’s good for people who have a hard time determining their size from online charts and want to actually touch the clothing they’re buying before committing. Wardrobe boxes must be returned via UPS, which could be a drawback if there’s not a drop-off-location near you. Amazon typically deducts the cost of return shipping from your refund, and you may also end up paying a restocking fee—even if you have Prime.
There aren’t many other services quite like this, and styling services like Stitch Fix and Trunk Club charge an up-front styling fee of $20-25 before your selection is shipped. If you shop through one of these services more than five or six times each year, Prime may be a better deal. But, you have to feel confident choosing your own items to try on, rather than being styled.
When deciding whether or not to sign up for Amazon Prime, your own needs play a major role. It mostly comes down to this: if you want expedited shipping on most of your Amazon orders, you can find the content you want to watch or listen to, or both, you should get it. If none of those circumstances apply to you, Prime probably isn’t a worthwhile investment.
Take a look at your shopping history at Amazon to find out how much you spent on shipping in the last year. Look at what you watch on Netflix (or on television, for that matter) and see if Amazon offers the same stuff. This information will quickly reveal whether or not you should sign up. If you can split your Prime membership with someone, that may drive down the cost to make it more than worthwhile.
If you fit the bill, you’ll love Prime. If not, be glad you’re saving $119 a year on something you don’t need. If you’re not sure, however, you can always try it out for a month for free and see if you like it.
This story was originally published on 8/6/13 and was updated on 6/26/19 to provide more thorough and current information.
Is Amazon Prime Worth It?
Is Amazon Prime worth it? This may be a trick question, since clearly I do think it’s worth it — or I wouldn’t pay for it! But since the question keeps coming up, let me tell you why I think Prime provides enough value for our family to be worth $119.00 a year. Prime’s worth to you and your family will depend on how many of these Prime benefits you’re likely to use.
That $119 a year breaks down to just $9.92 a month — so when you think about it that way, it really does help break down whether you’ll be saving enough and/or using enough services that Amazon Prime is worth it for you. Note: You save by paying the $119 annual fee — if you choose to pay month-by-month, it’s $12.99 a month. With either plan, you can cancel at any time.
So here’s what you get with Prime, with notes on which services our family tends to use the most. Amazon Prime is so much more than just the shipping benefits, and here’s how to find & use all its different benefits.
Prime gives you free two day shipping on items shipped from and/or sold by Amazon — and now they offer free same day delivery on many items in select metro areas with a minimum $35 order.
This is SO useful over the holidays! I did the bulk of my holiday shopping on Amazon again this year since they often had the best prices on items I wanted, and it’s so nice not to have to worry about getting an order up to $25 for free shipping (then later inevitably remembering something else small you should have thrown in).
Beyond the holidays, Prime shipping comes in handy all year long. On Saturday, for instance, I noticed our toaster oven liner was pretty much at the end of its useful lifespan and that things weren’t cooking or toasting properly. I could have made a trip to Walmart (where I see online they’re around $6.49) or to Target to look for one, but instead got it delivered to my house for that same $6.49, shipped — it showed up on my porch yesterday. This saved me gas, time, hassle, and possible impulse buys at the store.
This alone seems like such a small example, but these small savings in gas, time, and avoiding impulse buys (especially at Target!) really add up across the year — and can also be a blessing when you don’t want to drag small kids out to the store or work long hours. As long as I’m sure what I’m getting is a decent price on Amazon, why not get it delivered for free and gain back the time I’d otherwise spend searching for it in a store? When you’re searching for items on Amazon, you can easily filter to only show those available for Prime shipping just by checking the Amazon Prime box on the left-hand side of the screen (once you’re browsing a category).
Free release day delivery
Amazon also allows Prime members to pre-order eligible products for delivery on their release date, with a pre-order price guarantee.
Slower shipping credits
When you’re not in need of faster shipping, also watch for these types of free credit offers at checkout. Amazon often offers credits on digital product if you choose free no-rush shipping rather than two-day shipping, so if time is not an issue it can be worth accruing these in your account. Use them to pick up a free Kindle book or rent an instant video!
Free add-on item delivery
New as of June 2019: On add-on items, you now will have the option to have them shipped free on your Amazon Day delivery date — without having to hit a $25 shipping threshold that previously applied to everyone. Look over near the top right right of any add-on item page, and you should see the free shipping offer right under the price.
What’s Amazon Day delivery? Keep ordering throughout the week, and all your orders will deliver on the same day, combined when possible.
Free Prime Video Streaming
We cut the cord on DirecTV several years ago, and now watch everything on Netflix, Prime Video, or an over-the-air antenna. Since our Netflix went up to $9.99 a month in mid-2016, it’s now more expensive than Prime — but although we do watch Netflix pretty much daily, streaming is all you get from them as opposed to the varied benefits you get with Prime.
Prime Video includes movies, shows, and original Prime series that you won’t get on Netflix or elsewhere. Just a few shows and Amazon Originals we’ve watched with our Prime membership over the last year include:
- Good Omens
- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
- Mozart in the Jungle
- The Vikings
- Downton Abbey
… and much more. Between Prime and Netflix, we barely even bother to touch over-the-air TV any more — I think the last two things we watched were the ball drop in Times Square on New Year’s Eve and the Super Bowl!
Free Prime Music Streaming
Prime Music includes over two million songs in its on-demand, ad-free music streaming. I have an Echo Dot in my office so can easily tell it to play my favorite songs or albums while I’m typing, and we can also stream Prime Music through our TV for background music.
Free Prime Reading
Prime Reading is an Amazon Prime benefit that offers Prime members unlimited reading: Books, magazines, comics, Kindle singles, Audible narration, and more. It currently offers over 1000 things to read, and I’ll be watching it to see how often they change things up and add new content.
- Prime members can also download a free select Kindle First Reads editors’ pick title each month, a month before its official release date.
- And Prime members who own a Kindle or Fire can borrow a free book from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library each month.
Discounts and deals just for Prime Members
I don’t personally use this one because my kids are outside of the target age range, but if you have a little one in diapers Amazon Family will give you up to 20% off diaper subscriptions — and they regularly offer high value coupons to combine with subscribe & save for an even better deal. You’ll also get regular baby-related coupons & deals, which can add up to some pretty significant savings. What new parent couldn’t use a convenient source for cheap diapers?
The first Prime Day in 2015 was kind of anticlimactic, but the second Prime Day in 2016 was fantastic (I got my Instant Pot, for one!) — and 2017 and 2018 were not bad at all. Definitely worth taking advantage of.
Subscribe & Save discounts
If you have been following the Amazon subscribe & save deals in the Hot Deals Facebook group, you may have noticed that some of the better deals seem now to be reserved for Prime members only. If you are a subscribe & save fan (I am, and get a box almost every month…), the extra savings from Prime-only deals go a long way towards balancing out that monthly cost.
Amazon branded items just for Prime members
Some Amazon branded items, such as Wickedly Prime foods, are currently only available to Amazon Prime members.
Early Access to Lightning Deals
Prime members get early access to a number of lightning deals. The best deals often tend to sell out during the 30 minute Prime-exclusive window before they ever make it to the non-Prime general public, especially during the holidays.
Access to Prime Pantry
If you’ve been watching Amazon’s offers over the past couple of years, you might have noticed that some of the deals that were traditionally available on subscribe & save have sneakily been moving over to Prime Pantry. Fill your Prime Pantry box with grocery and household items one flat rate shipping fee (contiguous U.S. only), or add a Prime Pantry membership onto your Prime membership for an additional fee.
- Prime Pantry recently made some changes — see more on how it works and how to maximize your savings with Prime Pantry here.
Pantry items often have coupons and promos associated with them, such as buy five select items, get $6 off, which you can combine with the occasional no-rush shipping credit offers for some fantastic savings.
Unlimited Photo storage on Amazon Cloud
Prime members also benefit from free unlimited photo storage, and can share this service with up to five people so that you can collect and view photos together with other family members. If you’re paying for cloud storage for photos elsewhere, you can drop that and move them to Prime Photos instead.
You don’t want a shared cart or order history when you’re buying secret gifts for other members of your household, lol. Some Amazon Prime benefits, including two day shipping, Prime Video, and Prime Music, are shareable with another adult household member. So even if you have separate accounts, you can share the Prime shipping benefits with your spouse or other household member.
Note: Prime Student members can only share Prime Twitch benefits (see below).
Savings for gamers
Prime members who are into gaming can score ad-free viewing on Twitch, free game content, and exclusive 20% off pre-order savings on physical video games. This past fall, for instance, Prime members could score pre-orders of Pokémon Sun or Pokémon Moon for $31.99 rather than their list price of $39.99 — and it was hard to find deals on either game later in the holiday season. Saving $8 on one pre-release video game pretty much evens out the cost of Prime for one month (while you’re still benefiting from all the other Prime discounts and services).
I’m too far out in the suburbs to have access to Prime Now yet, but if you’re in the city or a close-in suburb, throw in your ZIP code to see if you qualify. Prime Now offers free two hour delivery on select items to Prime members in select ZIP codes, with weekly ad savings and occasional coupon codes — and also offers free one hour restaurant delivery in select cities.
Amazon Prime Wardrobe
This is so cool: Amazon Prime Wardrobe lets you “try before you buy.” Pick three or more qualifying items across clothing, shoes, and accessories, and they ship to you for free. Once your box arrives, you get a seven day try on period to see what will work for you. Return whatever you don’t want using the provided prepaid return label, and only pay for the items you keep!
I tried this service when I lost weight and didn’t know what bra size I was anymore — and it’s a fantastic service for those of us who have more limited in store try-on options. 🙂
Free Shipping at Woot
Amazon Prime members now receive — so if you shop there often, you can make some of your membership fee back on what you would have otherwise paid in shipping fees! Woot also runs occasional Prime-only promos such as buy one, get one free offers for members.
Special Savings at Whole Foods
Prime members save more at Whole Foods — just link the phone number from your Prime account or download the app. Get an extra 10% off items with yellow sale signs, special Prime deals, free two hour delivery from Whole Foods in select cities, and 5% back for eligible Prime members with the Prime Rewards Visa.
Free Audible Channels
Prime members receive free access to Audible Channels, which include exclusive original audio series, playlists, and Prime-exclusive audiobooks.
How can you save on Amazon Prime?
Amazon very rarely offers discount on Prime memberships, but does offer:
- Prime Student. Students get a free six month trial, and then enjoy Prime at 50% off.
- Prime EBT. Qualifying customers with an EBT card can purchase a Prime membership for $5.99 a month.
Otherwise, Amazon offers a sale on Prime memberships (new customers only) only about once a year.
So, is Amazon Prime worth it?
We don’t even scratch the surface of using all of these available services, but have definitely found Prime to be worth it for our family.. Here’s what we use the most:
- Free two-day shipping
- Exclusive subscribe & save deals
- Prime Photo storage
- Prime Video
- Prime Music
- Prime Wardrobe
- Prime Savings at Whole Foods
- Early Access Lightning Deals (particularly over the holidays)
That all adds up to a pretty good value for $9.92 a month. See more on Amazon Prime here!
What do you guys think — Is Amazon Prime worth it?
Do you have Prime? What services do you tend to use — and, did you know all of these options were available to you?
Where to get Amazon Prime
You can sign up to a free trial of Amazon Prime for 30 days. You can then cancel the trial when it ends or keep the benefits and pay for it monthly or annually.
What is included with Amazon Prime?
Free one day delivery on thousands of items sold by Amazon
Amazon Instant Video streaming with access to thousands of shows and movies across multiple devices and computers
The Kindle eBook library, which lets you borrow books for your Kindle E-reader or Fire tablet
Online digital photo storage with no limits using Amazon Drive
Prime Music, an ad-free music streaming service that can be used on computers, tablets and phones
30 minute early access to Lightning Deals, which are time limited special offers on a range of products
Amazon Prime will also include 20 Premier League football matches from the 2019/2020 season.
You can pay for the whole package at a cost of £79 each year. Amazon also now let customers pay monthly instead. It costs £7.99 a month, which comes to £95.88 each year.
You can get a 30 day free Amazon Prime trial if you are a new customer, which lets you try out all of the benefits beforehand.
You can cancel it when the trial comes to an end. Alternatively, you can continue Prime membership and start paying the full £79 a year or £7.99 per month if you want to keep the benefits.
Is annual or monthly membership cheaper?
Paying annually is still cheaper overall at £79 because monthly membership comes to £95.88 per year. But monthly payments are more affordable in the short term and offer more flexibility.
Can students get a discount on Amazon Prime?
Yes, students can get Amazon Prime at half price until they graduate (for up to four years). This comes to £39 per year.
Students can also get a free trial of Amazon Prime that lasts for six months instead of the usual 30 days. This includes exclusive student discounts as well as their free delivery, video, music and photo services.
The free trial does not include Kindle First or access to their lending library.
How should you pay for Amazon Prime?
You can pay for Prime using the payment method linked to your Amazon account, usually a credit card or debit card.
Your card will be charged either annually or monthly, depending on how you choose to pay. Paying annually is cheaper if you can afford it with money in your bank account or savings.
Alternatively, you could spread the cost of annual membership with a 0% purchases credit card. You can then pay it back over several months without paying interest.
Is Amazon Prime worth the price?
In February 2014, Amazon Prime went from £49 to £79 per year. Whether it is worth its new price tag depends upon how often you are going to use it and working out whether it gives you value for money.
If you only want to use Amazon Prime delivery
To make the £79 cost worthwhile you need to place the equivalent of:
20 or more orders of clothes (£3.95 for one day delivery)
13 or 14 orders of media (£5.99 one day delivery)
10 orders of anything else (£7.99 one day delivery).
If you can wait longer for your order, some of the other delivery options available include:
Free delivery is available with a £20 minimum spend on eligible items (products sold or fulfilled by Amazon) and Items will be delivered three to five days after dispatch.
Standard delivery is calculated on weight if items are not eligible for free delivery; they are usually delivered within one to two business days after dispatch. Prices start from £1.99 for media weighing up to 0.5kg and £2.99 on orders weighing more than 0.5kg. Books cost £2.99 per delivery and all other product types start at £3.99.
Express delivery orders placed before the deadline will arrive by 1pm the following day. It costs £6.49 without amazon prime and £4.49 with prime.
Same day evening delivery (for selected UK postcodes). These eligible items are delivered between 6pm and 10pm. This is a free service with Amazon Prime but for those without it the service costs £9.99 per delivery.
Being an Amazon Prime customer gets you delivery upgrades. If you need to expedite your delivery, find out more here.
If you rarely order from Amazon
If you are not interested in streaming music and TV, you are probably best off saving £79 and sticking with free super saver delivery on orders of £20 or more as long as you don’t mind waiting three to five days for orders to arrive.
If you order rarely but are interested in instant streaming, you could try the free trial and see whether you make full use of the service before deciding to take the plunge.
Try all the free trials for Netflix, Now TV and Wuaki too, to see which one you like the best.
Is Amazon Prime Instant Video better than the competition?
How good is Amazon Prime’s Instant Video content?
Currently you take your pick of more than 15,000 TV programmes and films.
Amazon has also said it is “investing heavily in exclusive content”, which has so far included original shows like Transparent, Extant and the new project from Top Gear’s former presenters.
Amazon also allows you to download videos to your tablet or mobile so you can watch your favourite videos on the go.
At £79 annually, Prime works out at £6.58 a month, which is similar to other streaming video services:
Netflix plans start at £5.99 a month
Now TV starts at £6.99 per month
However, with Amazon Prime you get the delivery service, music streaming and Kindle library too. If Amazon Prime Instant Video has got your favourite films and shows and you are going to use it for hours on end, you might find it worth the price.
Amazon Prime is available to stream on all Kindle Fire tablets, along with more than 600 other devices, including most computers, consoles, smartphones, tablets and smart TVs.
What does Prime Music offer?
Prime Music is Amazon’s music streaming service. Its basic service comes with Prime at no extra cost and offers access to around two million songs with no adverts.
It was added to Prime’s features in July 2015, and features include:
Playing songs on your device or computer through Amazon’s website
Playing songs using the Amazon Music application on your tablet or smartphone*
Downloading songs on your computer or device
Creating playlists you can play through the app even when you are offline
*Including Android devices and Apple products What are Prime Stations?
They are ad-free personalised music streaming stations that have been added to the Prime Music service. You can like and dislike the songs that are played and skip as many as you like.
What is Prime Music Unlimited?
It is an extended streaming service that offers the same features as Prime Music but with a music library of around 40 million songs.
It costs £9.99 per month, but Prime members can get either of these discounts:
Paying £7.99 a month (£2 cheaper)
Paying £79 upfront for a whole year (£6.58 per month)
How does Prime Music compare to other streaming services?
Other streaming services like Spotify, Deezer, Tidal, Apple Music and Google Play are available as a standalone subscription. But Prime Music’s basic package can only be accessed as part of the full Amazon Prime service.
It is cheaper than other streaming sites, which charge around £10 per month. Amazon Prime membership can be £6.58 per month and also includes its one day free delivery service, video streaming, photo storage and eBook library.
Its choice of music is more limited, with around two million tracks currently available to UK members. Spotify and Apple Music each offer more than 30 million songs.
However, their Prime Music Unlimited service offers about 40 million songs and is cheaper than most other music streaming services if you add it to the full Prime service.
The Amazon Prime Kindle eBook library
Amazon Prime’s Kindle Owners’ Lending Library lets you borrow one book per month, which you must return before taking out another one.
While one book is slightly restricting, this is mitigated by the fact that there are half a million books to choose from – which should keep even the fastest reader going for some time.
There are no due dates or deadlines for returning books, and they can be shared between your Kindle devices and Kindle apps (but not across multiple user accounts).
The verdict on Amazon Prime
Whether Amazon Prime is worth it for you will depend entirely on how much use you are going to get from it.
If you regularly order from Amazon, pay for a music or TV and movie streaming service and read a lot, Amazon Prime may be worth it
If you do not really order enough to justify the £79 price, stream video and music content from another provider and do not have a Kindle, it is unlikely you will find much use for Amazon Prime
You can share your Prime benefits with one other adult and up to four children at no extra cost by creating an Amazon Household.
How to cancel Amazon Prime
If you decide to end your Prime membership, head to the login page on amazon.co.uk and sign into your account, go to Manage Your Prime Membership, and select the End membership option (if you have paid) or Do not continue (if you are in the trial period).
Once you have opted out of automatic renewal, you will not get charged after your free trial or current year’s membership is up. Of course, if you change your mind and want to carry on, you can sign up again or alter your membership preferences later.
A standard Amazon Prime membership currently costs $119 — perhaps a steep price to pay for free 2-day shipping. But if you’re a bookworm, a video buff, or just someone who often shops online, the benefits might well outweigh the costs. To help you decide whether it’s a good deal for you, we’ve broken down the basics on what Amazon Prime actually offers.
What are the benefits of Amazon Prime?
Amazon Prime’s key benefit is its free two-day shipping on over 100 million eligible items. In some cities, you can even get same-day delivery on eligible orders. While Amazon does offer free standard shipping on qualifying orders of $25 or more to non-Prime customers, you have to wait 5 to 8 business days for your order to arrive.
Love deals? We’ll find you more of them.
Explore cash-back offers at nearby shops and restaurants.
But just as the company has expanded from a simple bookstore to a finger-in-every-pie empire, so has Prime extended its benefits to include:
- Prime Now. Prime Now narrows the free same-day delivery window on certain items to as little as two hours, but it’s only available in select metro areas.
- Unlimited movie and TV streaming. You can stream thousands of TV shows and movies using Prime Video.
- Unlimited reading. Members can choose from over a thousand books, comics and magazines to read free.
- One free borrowed e-book per month. With a Prime membership, you can choose one of hundreds of thousands of e-books to download from the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library, including hits like the Hunger Games trilogy and the Harry Potter collection. Plus, you’ll get early access to a free monthly book from the Kindle First selections. Note that you need an actual Kindle (not the Kindle app), a Fire tablet or Fire phone to take advantage of the Lending Library.
- Unlimited music streaming. You can listen to over two million songs and browse Prime Playlists, all ad-free with Prime Music.
- Prime Day and Prime Early Access. Prime members get the exclusive perk of shopping annual Prime Day deals. On the other 364 days of the year, you’ll get access to Lightning Deals with a 30-minute head start on non-Prime members.
- Free unlimited photo storage with Prime Photos. Your photos will be added to your secure Amazon Cloud Drive, which you can access from both your computer and mobile device.
- Stock up with Prime Pantry. You can fill a pantry box with low-priced household and grocery items and have it delivered for a flat shipping rate of $7.99. Amazon only ships pantry boxes to the contiguous U.S.
- Amazon Elements. As an Amazon Prime member you have access to Amazon’s own consumer-first line of everyday items, like baby wipes.
- Amazon Family. Free for all Prime members, Amazon Family offers family-oriented coupons and deals, including 20% off diapers when ordered with Subscribe and Save and a 15% baby registration completion discount.
The cost of an Amazon Prime membership depends on the plan you choose, but you can try it for free for 30 days.
Here’s a breakdown of the payment plans and what they include:
- Prime Video: $8.99 per month. This membership restricts your perks to unlimited TV show and movie streaming. It’ll cost you around $108 per year.
- Prime: $12.99 per month. If you want full Prime benefits but prefer to spread out your payments, you’ll pay about $155 a year.
- Prime: $119 per year. Those who pay an annual lump sum for the full membership will spend less in the long run.
There’s are also a discounted membership for students that offers all the regular Prime benefits, but during the free trial period you won’t get access to Instant Video or Kindle books:
- Prime Student: If you’re a student with a valid school email address, you can get a free six-month trial of Prime Student and a discounted annual membership fee of $59 after that.
Heads up: Amazon keeps your credit card information on file when you sign up, so if you decide you don’t want the membership once your free trial expires, make sure to log into your account and actively cancel it. Otherwise, you’ll be charged the membership fee.
Is an Amazon Prime membership worth it?
There are three ways to evaluate an Amazon Prime membership: shipping, reading and streaming entertainment. We’ll tackle each individually.
- Shipping. If you spent more than $119 in shipping fees last year, well, there’s your answer.
- Reading. A full-price Kindle e-books costs about $9.99, and if you buy one per month, that’ll add up to $120 a year. You’d save money by just borrowing them from the Kindle Lending Library.
- Streaming entertainment. Amazon Prime, which includes Prime Instant Video, is cheaper than both the commercial-free Hulu plan and the standard Netflix plan. Prime also includes Prime Music and is less expensive than ad-free subscriptions to Spotify, Apple Music and Google Play. If the video and music selection is wide enough that you’d consider forgoing a subscription to other services, you’ll have recouped the cost of Amazon Prime.
There are other considerations to take into account, such as the convenience of having your items shipped in days instead of weeks, or not having to go to the store to buy essentials like paper towels.
Keep in mind, too, that you can share your shipping benefits with another household member. If you split the cost with a roommate, for example, you can effectively cut the cost down to under $60 a year — a pretty amazing deal. It’s a great way to save. And if you can get free two-day shipping for less than $5 a month, it’s well worth it.
Amazon Prime: Is It Worth the Cost?
In 2006, I was receiving about five deliveries a week from online shopping orders. What can I say? I was an online shopaholic.
Amazon Prime was only a year old at the time, and I became tired of hoarding filler items in order to qualify for the $25 free shipping minimum. To me, receiving free two-day shipping on most Amazon items for $79 a year was a bargain. It was that “happy medium” between instant gratification and having to drive to a brick and mortar store, hoping an item was there, and waiting in line for checkout.
Since then, Amazon Prime has grown to more than just free two-day shipping.
Amazon Prime Membership
The standard Amazon Prime Membership is $99 per year and includes:
- FREE Two-Day Shipping on tens of millions of items
- Prime Music. Unlimited, ad-free access to millions of songs and thousands of playlists and stations with Prime Music
- Prime Video. Instant streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows with Prime Video
- Amazon Drive. Free unlimited photo storage
- Prime Reading. Read unlimited books, magazines, and more on any device with Prime Reading
- Twitch Prime. Ad-free Twitch viewing with free in-game loot and a free channel subscription every 30 days.
Most of my friends and family members who have Amazon Prime don’t take advantage of all the features or fail to understand all the features that are available. If you are looking for a Netflix alternative, the Prime Membership pays for itself. Plus, it comes with additional benefits — if you want to listen to ad-free music or read a book every now and then, you get that, too.
Let’s take a look at each feature.
Free Two-Day/Expedited Shipping
Two-day shipping charges for most items without a Prime Membership usually start at $6 a shipment. However, an Amazon Prime membership includes many shipping benefits in addition to just getting free two-day shipping. Here are the other shipping benefits listed on Amazon’s website:
FREE same-day delivery is also available in many metropolitan areas, an added value of about $32 or more for shipping costs. (I got this number by estimating Fedex same day costs for a one pound shipment in the same zip code).
Many of those metropolitan areas also offer Prime Now, which offers FREE 2-hour delivery. If you only need two or three items from the supermarket or drugstore, the convenience of Prime Now may be worth the small tip to the delivery guy when you consider the time and gas saved.
Prime Music includes over two million ad-free and on-demand songs in the Amazon library. As of 2014, Pandora had about 1.5 million songs in their library. Currently, Pandora One is priced at $4.99 a month. Amazon’s functionality and catalog (which you’ll access for free with Prime membership) is very competitive with Pandora One’s ad-free offerings.
Prime Video includes award-winning Amazon Originals, exclusive streaming rights to many TV series, and thousands of other movies and TV shows. In 2016, Amazon’s original series were nominated for 16 Emmy Awards, so these are quality shows and movies that can directly compete with Netflix, HBO, and Showtime’s catalogs.
In addition, you can concurrently watch Prime Video on up to three devices (as opposed to Netflix’s Standard Plan, which includes two devices). You can also download Prime Videos for offline viewing on mobile devices for when you travel. The Netflix Standard Plan is $9.99 a month — compare that to Amazon Prime’s membership rate in terms of months, and it comes out to $8.25 a month for Prime Video (assuming you don’t utilize your membership for anything else).
You’ll get free unlimited photo storage with Prime Photos, and 5GB on Amazon Drive for personal video and document storage.
Google Photos is a direct competitor with Prime Photos, and is free for high-quality (lower resolution) images. If you would like to store your DSLR-quality images on Google Photos at maximum resolution, you will more than likely go over the 15GB of free storage limit provided with your Google account. You may have to upgrade to 100GB of Google Drive storage at $1.99 a month, which will allow you to store more DSLR-quality images on Google Photos at original resolution.
With your Amazon Prime membership, you can store an unlimited amount of DSLR-quality images on Prime Photos as long as your Prime Membership is active.
Last month, Amazon launched a new Prime Reading program which grants you access to a catalog of over a thousand books, magazines, Kindle Singles, and more. Many of these books are available for purchase on the Kindle app for around $3.99 to $4.99.
Are you a gamer? Do you follow other gamers on Twitch? One of the lesser known features of a Prime Membership is Twitch Prime, which gives you ad-free viewing, a free channel subscription every 30 days, and free in-game goodies for some of the most popular games.
With the exception of the aesthetic Turbo Badge and Banner, Twitch Prime is identical to Twitch Turbo subscription ($8.99 a month). Even Twitch recommends considering cancelling your Turbo account if you subscribe to both!
Amazon Prime Value Calculator: Adding It All Up
Your favorite games, online shopping habits, music streaming preferences, and video streaming routines will vary from family to family and person to person. Because of this, estimating the value of an Amazon Prime membership can be a little difficult.
However, by comparing Amazon Prime features to competing services and subscriptions, we can determine the value of all of the benefits of an Amazon Prime membership with our handy Amazon Prime Value Calculator.
If the value of your services are over $99, then it is worth subscribing to Amazon Prime. Even if you intend to just use Prime Video or Twitch Prime, those features alone makes it worth subscribing.
Purchasing Your Amazon Prime Membership: Discounts
- From now until Black Friday 2016, you can get a free trial of an Amazon Prime Membership for 30 days.
- For the past few years, Amazon Prime Memberships have been discounted during the week of the Emmys to celebrate their nominations in the 67th and 68th Emmy Awards. In the past, this has been a steal at $67 (2015) and $68 (2016), respectively. I’m guessing that when Amazon Prime Originals get nominated again next year, you can expect a $69 discounted membership rate during next year’s 69th Emmys.
- If you’re a qualifying student, the Prime Student membership gives you a free 6-month trial and
“After your 6-month trial ends, your Prime Student membership makes you eligible to receive 50% off Amazon Prime, including all Prime benefits, for up to four years or until you are no longer a student.“
Extra Amazon Prime Benefits: Tips, Tricks, & Tools
- You get early access to some Lightning Deals.
- Itching for Black Friday deals in the middle of the year? Amazon gives you exclusive discounts on Prime Day.
- Amazon’s acquisition of Diapers.com lead to the creation of Amazon Family, which gives new moms and dads 20% off of diapers and more.
- You can share select Prime Benefits and your digital content with up to two adults and four children using Amazon Households and Family Library.
- Use Chrome extensions. There are two great Chrome browser extensions that can help with your Amazon shopping experience: Camelizer will search CamelCamelCamel.com for pricing trends for any Amazon item and Honey will search for any relevant coupon codes or less expensive sellers on Amazon.
Amazon Device Tips
- If you own a Kindle, you already have access to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and Kindle First. Prime Reading will unlock more free content to read, but Kindle Unlimited may be worth it for you voracious readers out there.
- If you own an Echo or Echo Dot, you can get an Echo plan subscription of Amazon Music Unlimited (only available for play on your Echo device) for $3.99 a month. Prime members get a full subscription at $7.99 a month.
- Check here to see if your current Smart TV or internet connected media device supports Amazon Prime Video. Don’t have a compatible device? Purchase a Fire TV to start streaming your Prime Video content.
- Going on a road trip? Download Prime Video movies for offline viewing on a Fire Tablet.
The Amazon Prime subscription is definitely worth the price for most people. U
sing the calculator, it only takes about nine shipments under $49 and occasional use of both Prime Music and Video to utilize a total value over the $99 membership price.
For those new to cord-cutting, Prime Video will help with the transition and will also give you alternatives like Prime Reading to get you away from the tube.
Content has shifted from tangible mediums, to digital files, to subscriptions, and now as a service.
Amazon clearly understands this shift and has aligned their Prime Membership as a freemium model. They offer free shipping to everyone on orders over $49, or orders that include $25 worth of books.
When you subscribe to Amazon Prime, you are subscribing to their first tier of freemium services listed above. This introduces you to the Amazon ecosystem. With the purchase of Amazon brand devices, this can further unlock new features and functionality of your Prime Membership. The final freemium tier are the additional subscription services of Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Music Unlimited.
Whether you are a music enthusiast, book nerd, couch potato, computer gamer, student, or new mom, Amazon Prime has something for everyone. With our tips, tricks, and Amazon Prime Value Calculator, you will definitely find out if it is worth it for you.
Amazon Prime Day: Everything you need to know
Julie Clopper/Getty Images
For anyone who loves a great deal, it’s never too early to start planning for one of the biggest online shopping events of the year: Amazon Prime Day.
This year, Prime Day will run for two full days, spanning from July 15 to 16. Knowing what you’re looking for in advance and planning your spending carefully can ensure you get the best deals on those items throughout the day without much hassle.
Here’s everything we know about Prime Day 2019 so far and a few tips for making the most of the sale:
What is Prime Day?
For frequent Amazon shoppers, Prime Day may be on par with Black Friday and Cyber Monday in savings potential. It’s Amazon’s biggest, most comprehensive sale of the year and reserved exclusively for Prime members.
Prime Day began in 2015 to celebrate Amazon’s 20th anniversary, but it has continued and expanded each year since; a trend that experts expect will continue this year.
“If the past two years are any indication, shoppers should prepare themselves for a longer Prime Day,” says Kristin McGrath, editor and shopping expert at Offers.com. “It was 36 hours long last year and 30 hours long before that. The days of Prime Day being a literal ‘day’ are long past. So get ready for more of a marathon than a sprint.”
Since Prime Day is exclusive to Prime members, you must have a Prime membership before to take advantage of sale prices. Memberships cost $12.99 monthly or $119 if paid annually. Students can get a six month free trial of Prime, followed by a discounted Prime Student membership for just $6.49 per month. If you don’t yet have a membership, Amazon offers a 30 day free trial period.
Plan your shopping in advance
Prime Day deals move quickly, so it pays to plan your purchases ahead of the sale.
The most time-sensitive discounts are Prime Day Lightning Deals: discounted products that are usually limited to one per customer and only available for a few hours or until inventory is gone.
“Amazon’s app allows you to set up ‘Watch this Deal’ notifications, so you can pounce when an item you want goes on sale,” McGrath says. “Last year, the app also offered sneak peeks at upcoming deals. Plus, Amazon stokes the Prime Day hype by announcing some deals in advance, or at least deal categories so you can prep your shopping list.”
You can save $120 on a Toshiba Fire TV and $20 on Apple AirPods, plus preview Prime Day Launches, a series of new products exclusively available to Prime Members.
Amazon-branded items like the Fire tablet, Echo and Kindle are all heavily discounted. You can also find steep savings on popular tech gadgets, from the Ring doorbell to Apple Watch and Nintendo Switch. Continue to check your Amazon app and the website throughout Prime Day to stay on top of sale announcements.
What to add to your Prime Day shopping list
Prime Day deals cover a vast, wide-ranging assortment of Amazon’s offerings, but there are a few mainstay categories that experts expect to see this year.
“Historically, we have seen that Amazon offers some of the biggest discounts on their own electronic devices such as Echo, Alexa, Kindle and Fire tablets,” says Sara Skirboll, shopping and trends expert at RetailMeNot. “This must-shop event is also a great opportunity to purchase other smart-home devices, TVs, appliances and get a head start on any hot toys that you may want to gift this upcoming holiday season.”
McGrath points specifically to Amazon-owned Fire TV, Echo and Ring products; in-house brands like Solimo, which makes everyday goods; Instant Pots and robot vacuums (discounted by $100 or more in years prior) as categories to watch this year.
More Prime Day benefits
Amazon recently announced their push towards one-day shipping on all Prime purchases, and the service could make a big splash on Prime Day. It’s not likely that one-day shipping will be available for every purchase yet, but Skirboll does predict more members can expect the option.
In addition to Amazon sales, look out for in-store discounts at Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market.
“Last year, Prime members who shopped the week of Prime Day at Whole Foods got $10 Amazon credits,” McGrath says. “No details have been announced for this year yet, but we expect Amazon to make Whole Foods part of the Prime Day action again.”
Look for sales from other retailers
As Prime Day has grown over the past few years, other retailers have also begun offering their own Black Friday in July sales. If you’re in the market for anything from appliances to electronics and everyday home goods, this is one of the best times all year to buy.
McGrath expects many major retailers to either have their own sales at the same time or simply price-match products with Amazon. “For customers, that means doing a quick price comparison before buying a big-ticket item, such as a TV or laptop, on Amazon. There might be a better price—or a higher-quality model at a competitive price.
So far, eBay plans to hold a “crash sale” on on July 15 and Target is offering “deal days” July 15 and 16 to compete with Prime Day sales.
Black Friday in July also works in your favor if you don’t have the flexibility to monitor fleeting Prime Day deals. “Customers can also rest assured that, if Amazon sells out of something popular, they have a second chance when another retailer swoops in and offers a similar deal,” McGrath says.
Use your cards to make the most of Prime Day
If you’re looking to spend big this Prime Day, don’t just prepare for what you’ll buy; be savvy about how you’ll make your purchases, too. Strategically using rewards credit cards can up your savings even more.
Frequent Amazon and Whole Foods shoppers looking to fully reap Prime membership benefits may find the most value in the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card. For no annual fee (besides your Prime membership cost), you’ll earn 5 percent cash back on every purchase at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market, including your Prime Day haul. Bankrate estimates that this card is best for shoppers who spend more than $2,000 annually with Amazon, in order to earn back the membership cost.
Cards with rotating rewards categories, like the Discover it® Cash Back, may not align with Amazon purchases this quarter, but frequent Prime buyers can still cash in when the category comes around in Q4 in time for the holiday season.
Otherwise, a flat cash-back card can offer even more flexibility. A couple of Bankrate’s top-rated cash-back options include:
- Citi Double Cash Card: Earn 1 percent cash back as you buy and 1 percent as you make payments for those purchases.
- Chase Freedom Unlimited: Earn 3 percent on all purchases your first year up to $20,000 and unlimited 1.5 percent cash back thereafter.
If you’re in the market for a new card and plan to spend during Prime Day, you may also want to take the opportunity to cash in on a sign-up bonus. Just don’t use flashy Prime Day sales as an excuse to overspend or buy something simply because it’s discounted.
“Remember that just because it’s Prime Day and Amazon has something on sale, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best deal out there,” Skirboll says. “Do your due diligence and price compare.”
- The best credit cards for shopping on Amazon
- What you should and shouldn’t buy on Amazon
- The best time of year to buy everything
About Amazon Prime
Members receive benefits which include FREE fast shipping for eligible purchases, streaming of movies, TV shows and music, exclusive shopping deals and selection, unlimited reading, and more.
Shipping benefits include:
- FREE Two-Day Shipping on eligible items to addresses in the contiguous U.S. and other shipping benefits. For more information, go to Amazon Prime Shipping Benefits.
- FREE Same-Day Delivery in eligible zip codes. For more information, go to Order with Prime FREE Same-Day Delivery.
- Prime Now: Get FREE 2-Hour Delivery on thousands of items. Check your ZIP Code’s availability. For more information go to Prime Now.
- FREE Release-Date Delivery: FREE Release-Date Delivery on eligible pre-order items delivered on their release date to ZIP codes within the continental U.S. For more information, go to Release-Date Delivery.
- FREE No-Rush Shipping: Don’t need your Prime order right away? Select No-Rush Shipping and earn rewards for future purchases.
- Amazon Day: Choose a weekly delivery day for the items you buy throughout the week.
Streaming benefits include:
- Prime Video: unlimited streaming of movies and TV episodes for paid or free trial members in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. For more information, go to About Prime Video.
- Amazon Channels: Watch your favorite shows and movies from HBO, SHOWTIME and STARZ channels — no cable required, cancel anytime and no additional apps to download. $4.99–$14.99/month for Prime members.
- Prime Music: unlimited, ad-free access to hundreds of Prime Playlists and more than two million songs for members in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. For more information, go to About Prime Music.
- Amazon Music Unlimited: Prime members can get discounted Amazon Music Unlimited monthly plans and there are annual plans available exclusively to Prime members. For more information, go to Amazon Music Unlimited.
- Twitch Prime: Members will receive exclusive promotions on eligible pre-order games. Twitch.tv users who link their Amazon Prime account get a free Twitch channel subscription every month, and exclusive access to free game content. For more information, go to Twitch.tv.
Shopping benefits include:
- Whole Foods Market: Exclusive savings for Prime members, 5% back for eligible Prime members with the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card, and 2-hour Delivery in select cities (with more to come). For more information go to Prime at Whole Foods Market.
- Amazon 4-star and Amazon Books Stores: Prime members pay Amazon.com prices on all products in-store. For more information go to Amazon 4-star or Amazon Books
- Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card: Eligible Prime members earn 5% back every day on all Amazon.com purchases, in addition to rewards everywhere else you shop. For more information go to Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card.
- Amazon Prime Store Card: Eligible Prime members can get 5% back every day on Amazon.com purchases and access to exclusive financing offers. For more information go to Amazon Prime Store Card.
- Amazon Dash for Prime: Never run out of your favorite products with Amazon Dash Button. For more information, go to Amazon Dash Button.
- Amazon Fresh: Prime members in select regions get fast and FREE grocery delivery on a wide selection of groceries including meat, seafood, produce, snacks and household essentials, with options for fast one- and two-hour delivery windows in select regions. For more information go to Amazon Fresh.
- Prime Wardrobe: Prime Wardrobe is a Prime-exclusive program where you can try before you buy from eligible items across women’s, men’s, kids’, and baby clothing, shoes, and accessories. You get seven days to try-on the items at home and you will only be charged for the items you decide to keep. For more information, go to About Prime Wardrobe.
- Prime Pantry: Amazon customers in select regions can shop for groceries and household products in everyday sizes, shipped separately from Amazon for a fee of $5.99 per order. Prime members recieve FREE delivery on Prime Pantry orders of $35 or more. Prime Pantry orders cannot be shipped to addresses in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. For more information, go to About Prime Pantry.
- Personal Shopper by Prime Wardrobe: Prime members in select regions can pay an additional monthly membership fee to receive a monthly styling service. For more information, go to About Personal Shopper by Prime Wardrobe
- Deals and Discounts, Compliments of Amazon Family: These include up to 20% off diapers, baby food, and more through Subscribe & Save and 15% off eligible products from your baby registry. For more information go to Get Up To 20% Off Diapers, Baby Food, and More or About the Completion Discount.
- Prime Early Access: Get 30-minute early access to Lightning Deals on Amazon.com. For more information, go to About Prime Early Access.
- Amazon Elements: Access to Amazon Elements products, Amazon’s own line of everyday essentials.
Reading benefits include:
- Prime Reading: You can borrow books, magazines, and more from the Prime Reading catalog and read them on your Fire tablet, Kindle e-reader, or the Kindle reading apps for iOS and Android. For more information, go to Borrow Books from Amazon Prime Reading.
- Amazon First Reads: Early access for members in the U.S. to download a new book for free every month from the Amazon First Reads picks. For more information, go to Amazon First Reads. You can also purchase hardcover titles at exclusive prices.
Other benefits include:
- Membership Sharing: Two adults living in the same household can create an Amazon Household to share certain Amazon Prime benefits. For more information, go to About Amazon Households.
- Amazon Photos: Secure unlimited photo storage and enhanced search and organization features in Amazon Drive for you and the members of your Family Vault. For more information, go to About Amazon Photos.
Prime supplemental memberships include:
- Amazon Channels: Watch your favorite shows and movies from HBO, SHOWTIME and STARZ channels — no cable required, cancel anytime and no additional apps to download. $4.99–$14.99/month for Prime members.
- Amazon Prime isn’t available for customers who purchase products for the purpose of resale or use Amazon Prime to ship products to their customers or potential customers.
- We may change these benefits occasionally as provided in the Prime Terms & Conditions.
- Some items are not available for Two-Day Shipping due to special shipping characteristics and instead will receive free standard shipping, which delivers in 4-5 business days.
- Your Prime Membership may be subject to sales tax in some states.
- Customers who are guests of another membership aren’t eligible for the following benefits unless they are eligible through their Amazon Household: membership sharing, Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, Prime Video, Prime Music, and shopping discounts provided by Amazon Family such as 20% off diapers and 15% Baby Registry Completion discount. Customers who are guests of another membership aren’t eligible for Amazon Photos.
- Prime members with certain discounted monthly Prime offers can’t share their Prime benefits.
- To use Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, the Kindle device must be associated with the Prime account that’s eligible for the benefit.
Is Amazon Prime worth it at $119 a year?
Amazon Prime is Amazon’s deluxe subscription model. When it started, it only offered free two-day shipping on select items. It has since expanded quite a bit, offering a slew of services focusing on books, movies, additional shipping perks, and more. This gradually widening range of services was precipitated by a price hike in 2014 from $79 per year to $99 per year. In May 2018, the annual price went up by $20 to $119 for new customers, and current subscribers saw that same price increase go into effect in June. In response to this adjustment, many people are starting to ask, “is Amazon Prime worth it?”
It’s a difficult question. Amazon Prime’s value hinges not only on how many items you order but also how much you use its other services. Here we’ll take a look at everything that Amazon Prime encompasses in 2018 and try to figure out if it’s really worth it.
Yearly vs monthly prices
Amazon allows customers to sign up for Prime on a monthly basis, too. Currently, the monthly subscription option costs $12.99 a month, which works out to $156 for a year. Clearly, if you really, really want to get Amazon Prime, your best bet is to pay for the $119 annual fee up front.
There’s also an Amazon Prime Video monthly subscription option for $8.99 a month, which just gives you access to all of its streaming movies and TV shows. You will spend about $108 a year if you stick with this month-to-month plan, so if you just want to get Amazon Prime Video, and nothing else, you can save $10 a year if you get it instead of the $119 a year fee for the full Amazon Prime experience.
This was the original selling point of Amazon Prime. The big highlight is, of course, the free two-day shipping. That sure is mighty convenient, especially if you are really bad at planning a week in advance.
When this was still the spotlight feature of Amazon Prime, figuring out if the subscription was worth it boiled down to some fairly simple math. The cost of paying for two-day delivery outright was $3.99, so if you had fewer than 30 Amazon Prime-eligible orders a year, you might as well cancel your service.
Now things are more complicated, even in the narrow topic of shipping. For starters, Amazon has started adding ways to get that free shipping without having a Prime subscription. Its Fulfillment by Amazon Small and Light program lets U.S. residents skip paying for shipping on specific items costing less than $10 and weighing 8oz or less. On the other end of the spectrum, Amazon now lets you take advantage of free shipping if your cart contains all Prime-eligible items and has a total exceeding $49. If these items are all books, the total only has to be $25 to qualify.
During the 2018 holiday season, Amazon announced it would offer free shipping for all of its customers without a minimum price point. This is only supposed to last until the end of the holiday shopping season. While you won’t get the fast two-day free shipping Prime subscribers get, there should be enough time for you to get whatever you want.
While it’s possible to get free two-day shipping without Prime, Amazon’s also been sweetening the Prime shipping perks for subscribers. Prime members in certain cities can get same day delivery on qualifying orders exceeding $35. With Prime Now, some zip codes get free two-hour shipping for select groceries and electronics, and one hour delivery of takeout restaurant food (it’s not available in my area, but I hear it’s freaking sweet). Two-day delivery is still free for all eligible items, regardless of your cart’s total, and one-day shipping is notably cheaper for Prime users — just $2.99 per item. Prime Pantry is also pretty cool, letting you get many of your groceries and home goods delivered to your doorstep (if you live in the continental U.S.) for a flat delivery fee of $5.99. In the same vein, you also get exclusive discounts on family products like diapers.
During the holiday shopping season, Amazon is expanding its same-day shipping efforts (in the cities that support it) with free shipping on over three million items for Prime subscribers. Again, this is just for the current holiday season.
Whether Amazon Prime is worth it just for the shipping advantages depends on how often you shop. If you only shop online infrequently, it may not be worth it. Amazon’s free shipping for non-Prime members during the holidays makes this even clearer.
However, the benefits of Amazon Prime membership besides its shipping deals make things more complicated.
Video streaming services
For a while, all eyes were on Netflix and Hulu as they tried to become better option. Amazon launched its streaming video service to relatively little fanfare, and didn’t have much original or exclusive content.
Since then, Amazon Prime Video has expanded its reach considerably. It has launched acclaimed original series like “The Man in the High Castle,” “Transparent,” and “Mozart in the Jungle.” It also offers first access to Amazon Studios’ growing library of original films, which arrive a few months after they complete their theatrical runs.
Now that Amazon has entered the exclusive content production game alongside Netflix, Hulu, and others, it’s become a much more competitive force in this category. Whatever the next Amazon-produced “PERSON in the PLACE” television series is, you can pretty much bank on it being a hit you will want to check out.
However the library isn’t quite as good as Netflix. In my experience, Amazon Instant Video isn’t anywhere as smart as Netflix, either. Netflix starts to get really good at recommending movies for you if stay in the habit of doling out star ratings with Machiavellian brutality. Amazon Video does nothing comparable. Those stars represent user reviews, like on IMDb, not an estimation of how much you’re going to like a show or movie. Clumsy navigation still afflicts the service as well, though in general everything about Amazon Prime Video has improved drastically in the last couple of years.
Even more recently, Amazon created the Streaming Partners Program, which bundles together streaming services to let you watch and manage subscriptions all within Amazon Video. Amazon’s “X-Ray” feature is functional on all media content streamed this way, letting you check out IMDb information about what you’re watching without opening another window.
Amazon Prime also continues to expand its original TV content offerings with shows like The Grand Tour (the car show from the former hosts of BBC’s Top Gear) and the detective show Bosch.The service has added great new original shows recently, like the superhero sitcom The Tick and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which won the Golden Goble and the Emmy in 2018 for best Comedy TV series. It’s had some fails too, particularly in 2017, when expensive and high brow shows like The Last Tycoon and Z: The Beginning of Everything were canceled after one season.
The future of Amazon Prime Video’s original content looks very promising. In addition to all of its returning shows, it will debut new programs in 2019 like Good Omens, a limited series based on the comedy fantasy book by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, and The Boys, a superhero series based on Garth Ennis’ ultra-graphic comic book. Recently, Amazon announced plans to produce a new TV shows based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings fantasy universe.
While Amazon’s original content on Prime Video is not able to match Netflix or Hulu, it’s clear that the company is sparing no expense in adding more shows that could become the next Game of Thrones or Walking Dead, in terms of popularity.
Music streaming services
In the grand battle of music streaming services, there are a lot of subscriptions to choose from. Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play Music, and more recently YouTube Music.
Prime Music looks like it’s trying to get into this action, but it’s still a serious underdog. Sure there are more than a million songs available for instant streaming, but Spotify is sitting pretty with a solid 60 million in its library. Google Play Music All Access has over 35 million, and Apple Music is supposed to have something like 43 million. This isn’t bringing a knife to a gunfight — it’s bringing a toothpick to global thermonuclear war.
Amazon Prime Music’s library is also cycling, so it doesn’t seem to be the best option at all for someone who wants a meticulously curated library with hundreds of hand-crafted playlists. The service would have to expand and change quite a bit before to attract serious music buffs, but as an added service that you’re already paying for, it’s not bad at all. It actually might work well for the casual music fan who would just as soon listen to their radio as anything else.
There’s also Amazon Music Unlimited, which offers tens of millions of songs, no ads, support for downloading songs for offline listening, and a way to listen via voice controls if you own one of the company’s Echo smart speakers. Anyone can sign up for Amazon Music Unlimited for $9.99 a month (with a 30-day free trial) but if you are already signed up for Amazon Prime, you can get Amazon Music Unlimited for $7.99 a month, shaving $24 off the price if you stick with it for a year.
Kindle and Audible perks
For bookworms, Amazon Prime comes with some serious pluses. Even if you don’t own a Kindle, you can still take advantage of these using the free Amazon Kindle app on your smartphone.
As a Prime user, you get access to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, which is like the world’s largest ongoing book-swap meet. For those looking to save a buck or two, this is a great way to find new authors, as you basically get a free book each month. You have to give it back when you’re through, so fans of re-reading will probably want to purchase their own digital copy.
Prime users also get access to Kindle First, which is another way to snag free books. Every month, Amazon posts some select Kindle First picks, and from this list, Prime members can download a digital copy on the house. More recently, Amazon Prime added Prime Reading, which gives you unlimited access to over a thousand books, along with current issues of many magazines. It also offers free access books with Audible narration, along with free comics, Kindle Singles, and more.
Speaking of Audible, Prime members can access Audible Channels, which offers a curated selection of audio news stories, comedy shows, articles, talks, and more.
You may not be aware of this, but Amazon also owns Twitch, the streaming video service that caters to content creators. While it started as a gaming-oriented service, with creators streaming “Let’s Play” content live, Twitch has since expanded to include all sorts of content from creators. If you sign up for Amazon Prime, you are automatically signed up for Twitch Prime as well. As a member, you can get free games every month, along with free DLC for popular games like PUBG, League of Legends, Warframe and many more.
An even nicer benefit is that you can access the premium subscription package of one Twitch video creator for free with your Amazon/Twitch Prime membership. You can support your favorite Twitch streamer and get access to his, her or their premium content and privilages without having to spend extra money. The credit is normally worth $4.99 a month.
Odds and ends
Prime Members also get a handful of other perks that don’t fit well into any other category, but contribute to the service’s value for some. Prime Photos is an unlimited cloud storage service nobody really uses it because Google Photos does the same thing better for free. Amazon Elements is Amazon’s initiative to create its own line of everyday products. Prime Early Access lets you see Lightning Deals thirty minutes earlier than non-Prime users. Two adults living at the same address can create an “Amazon Household” to share select benefits. Prime users also get a substantial 20 percent price cut on new video games if they pre-order or buy within two weeks of release, though there are some convincing argument pre-ordering is bad for the gaming community across the board.
Prime members can get discounts as large as 25 percent when they buy unlocked phones from Amazon. More recently, the company announced plans to launch Amazon Prime Book Box, a subscription service that will send two to four children’s books to homes for a monthly fee.
Finally, if you live near a Whole Foods grocery store, you can get an extra 10 percent off certain items at the story, and special deals just for Prime members. Some Whole Foods locations offer two-hour delivery of your online grocery order to your home for Prime members.
Breaking down the numbers
For Netflix, you can spend as little as $8 a month for access to the service on one streaming device at a time at non-HD resolution. YouTube Music costs $10 per month, and if you upgrade to YouTube Premium for $12 a month, it eliminates ads and offers its own small selection of original content. For those two services alone, you can pay as much as $240 every year.
Amazon Prime’s video and music services cost just $119 a year, but are they more than half as good? Amazon’s video content is well below Netflix’s, but it is improving and will continue to get better. However, if you had to pick between the two, Netflix and YouTube Premium seem to offer $240 worth of value annually. Paying $119 for Amazon Prime every year doesn’t offer quite as much value.
If you shop a lot on Amazon annually, you can usually cover the cost of the service with the savings you get on two-day shipping. If you only shop on Amazon occasionally, the $119 yearly membership may not be worth it.
Is Amazon Prime worth it? It depends on what kind of user you are.
If you take advantage of the services that come with a Prime membership, like free two-day shipping, Prime Now one day ,and one hour delivery access for cities that support it, free access to Kindle Prime books, and many other benefits, signing up to Amazon Prime is very much worth it.
If you are not a heavy Amazon buyer of goods and want to save some money, your best bet is to ditch the $119 yearly fee and stick with Netflix and YouTube Music or YouTube Premium. They may cost more, but they also offer a ton of content in return, and ultimately, that’s where you want to spend your hard-earned money.
So what are your thoughts? Is Amazon Prime worth it to justify the $119-per-year price? Did you discover any benefits in this list that you didn’t know you were missing out on? Let us know in the comments below!