(Updated 5/15/17) Free 2-day shipping via Amazon Prime is pretty dang awesome, but in all actuality, is Amazon Prime worth it? When it comes to Prime, free shipping is just the tip of the iceberg when you start digging into some of the cool “other” benefits that are included with your $99 Prime membership fee. Features you probably had no idea existed, or know very little about, especially if you signed up for Prime over a year ago when many didn’t exist yet.
If you’re on the fence about joining, these Prime benefits just might sway you into signing up, or at the very least trying a 30-day trial membership. If you’re already a member, start using these Amazon Prime benefits today, I think you’ll love what you discover.
Amazon Prime Reading
(Update 10/10/16) Amazon Prime members can now pick from 1,000’s of books, magazines, Kindle singles and more, and read them all for FREE via Prime Reading. And the best part is you don’t need a Kindle device to make it happen. Just download the Kindle app for iOS or Android and start reading anytime, anywhere.
Amazon Audible Channels
(Update 9/14/16) An Amazon Prime membership now includes unlimited access to podcasts and audio from Amazon-owned Audible. The service previously costs $5 per month and is now completely free. All that Prime members need to do is download the Android or iOS app and start tuning into Audible Channels right away at no additional cost.
Some of the top audio content includes cool stuff from The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Harvard Business Review, Charlie Rose, and The Onion, among others. The best part is that you’ll listen ad-free forever.
Prime Music Streaming Service
If you’re the main Amazon Prime account holder, and not an invited guest, you now have “unlimited, ad-free access to Prime Playlists and more than a million songs and albums at no additional cost.” The service is simply called Prime Music and can be accessed via the Prime Music app (Free for iOS and Android) or the Amazon website.
Once you log-in to Prime Music, all of the songs you have ever purchased from Amazon will automatically be added to your music library. Next, you’ll have the ability to search, find, and add over 1 million songs to your library as well. Most songs will be free, and some by the same artist will only be available if you pay for them.
I was very happily surprised that many new albums and singles are available to listen to for free. Once you’ve added music in your library, you can play songs whenever you want and aren’t bound to a shuffle feature like the free version of Spotify.
It also beats the free version of Pandora as you have an unlimited number of skips and can play any song in your playlist, including songs you just listened to.
The ad-free feature is a huge plus and something that makes Prime Music a no-brainer for existing members. Amazon clearly makes zero money directly off their music service, currently anyways. What they plan to do with it in the future remains to be seen. But for now, enjoy the free music.
2-Day Delivery Not Fast Enough?
Over 1-million items are currently available for 1-day delivery with a service called Amazon Prime Now that is included in the cost of a Prime membership.
Same-day delivery is available seven days a week in the following markets: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Dallas, Indianapolis, the Los Angeles metro area, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, the San Francisco Bay area, Seattle, Washington, DC, as well as San Diego and Tampa Bay.
In most of these areas, you also have access to tens of thousands items that are available for delivery in 2 hours which is pretty amazing.
Need it faster? You can pay $7.99 to have it delivered in one hour. According to CNET, the items that Amazon is focusing on for Prime Now are items that “consumers tended to need more urgently, including HDMI cables, batteries, water filters, baby wipes, deodorant and last-minute travel items such as sunscreen and towels.”
Unlimited Photo Storage
Another Amazon Prime benefit is unlimited cloud storage with a service called Amazon Prime Photos. This means you can start uploading your pictures straight to the Amazon cloud when your memory is close to full, or whenever you want for that matter. Great for vacations or when you run out of storage options.
When comparing to Google’s free storage option, Amazon Prime Photos lets you store unlimited RAW file formats for free, which Google does not. But…Google let’s you store unlimited 1080p video while Amazon limits you to 5GB.
If you’re interested in taking Amazon’s photo service for a test-drive you have 3 options:
- Web: Sign-in to your Amazon account from your web browser to start adding your photos from any PC or Mac.
- Mobile: Get the free mobile app to add photos from your iOS or Android device.
- Desktop: Install the Cloud Drive application for PC and Mac to add photos from your computer. Download Here.
“Prime Only” Early Access Deals
Are you aware that Amazon owns a website called MyHabit.com which specializes in limited time discounts on apparel (for the entire family), shoes, jewelry, handbags, and home items? Yeah, me neither. Talking really big discounts too, in the neighborhood of 60% off the original price.
You have to sign-in to this “members only” website with your Amazon account information to gain access to the deals. BUT, if you’re a Prime member, you’ll get access to the deals 30 minutes earlier than everyone else.
This is a fairly significant thing as many of the really popular deals go quickly. Unfortunately, you won’t get free 2-day shipping like you would on the Amazon website, but orders over $99 will ship for free via standard shipping.
Free Streaming Video
While probably the most popular side Amazon Prime benefit, I had my membership for over a year before I knew about the Prime Streaming option and it’s definitely worth using. Thousands of TV shows and movies are available for viewing, at no extra cost, with new titles being added all the time.
You can instantly stream Prime Instant Video titles from your computer’s web browser, Fire phone, Fire TV, Fire Tablets, Apple devices, Android phones, Internet-connected TVs, Blu-ray players, and even gaming consoles.
Students, Get Prime Free for 6 Months
Did you know that students with a .edu email address can get Amazon Prime free 2-day shipping for 6 months at NO charge? Here are the details:
- Click Here to sign-up for your free 6 months of Amazon Student.
- You’ll get free 2-day shipping, but won’t be eligible for Prime Instant Video, Prime Music or the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
- After your free 6 months expires, you’ll have the option to upgrade to a full Amazon Prime membership for 50% off and can cancel at anytime.
- Great way to stock up for college and dorm room supplies, on the cheap, without incurring shipping charges.
While I have talked about Prime NOT being a good buy in the past, I’m starting to change my mind as all of these awesome perks are starting to make it worth the $99 annual fee ($8.25/month).
This is especially true if they allow you to get rid of services like Netflix, Spotify, Pandora and any cloud storage fees you may be incurring on a monthly basis.
Try Prime For Free: Click Here to get a free 30-day trial and test out all of these Amazon Prime benefits for yourself.
By Kyle James