(Updated 5/15/17) I did some research and came up with four clever ways to get free shipping at Amazon without paying for a Prime membership. While I’m personally a big fan of the 2-day free shipping that comes with Amazon Prime (free 30-day trial), and think it’s worth the $99 annual price tag, I understand that others would disagree.
Maybe you don’t shop much online, or maybe you have no need for the added perks that come with a Prime membership. I totally get that. I hope these tips help you to shop at Amazon, avoid the Prime annual fee, and still score free delivery to your doorstep.
1. Score Free Shipping on Lightweight Stuff
Back in June, Amazon quietly announced that they were going to start offering free shipping on thousands of small, lightweight, items like cosmetics, in-ear headphones, and mobile phone accessories. No Amazon Prime membership required. No mimimum order size required either.
If you’re like most, and missed the memo, it’s a great option to start considering.
Be aware that because all items are fulfilled from their Kentucky warehouse, shipping will take between 4-8 business days, depending on how far you live from the blue grass state.
The single best way to discover these items that ship for free is to click on “Other Sellers”, from the product page, as those are the majority of eligible products.
2. Add “Filler” Items & Get Free Shipping
If you’re not a Prime member, you’re probably already aware that Amazon offers everyday free shipping on $49 or more.
Plus, a ton of 3rd party sellers offer free shipping with NO minimum order size required. Always check the shipping incentives that “Other Sellers on Amazon” are offering.
Also, if you’re ordering books, you only need to spend $25 and your entire order ships for free.
But what happens if your order total comes up just a little bit short of the minimum order threshold? Instead of either paying for shipping, or adding something to your cart you don’t really need, try using a site like Cheap Filler.com, Filler Checker.com, or Filler Item Finder.com.
This handy website allows you to enter the exact dollar amount you need to qualify for free shipping, as well as the product categories you might be interested in. Pretty handy tool that helps you get free shipping on Amazon without paying for a prime membership.
The take-away here is to qualify for free shipping by only adding stuff to your cart you actually need. Stuff that you can either use in your home, or maybe as a stocking stuffer or upcoming gift for someone in your life.
Also, it’s worth noting that you can buy Amazon gift cards to bump you up to the $25 threshold for free shipping. Then you can simply use them on later purchases. (Thanks Becky for this tip!) Update: After reading through the boilerplate on the Amazon site, it appears gift cards will not count towards your order total. Bummer.
3.The “Pre-Order” Free Shipping Hack
A sneaky little-known way to get your Amazon shopping cart over $25 is to consider adding items only available for pre-order. This is because they count toward your $25 minimum order requirement for free shipping.
The really cool part is that you won’t actually be charged for the pre-order items until they become available and ship. So if you change your mind, or don’t actually want the item, just cancel the order before it ships.
The best product categories to search for pre-order items include books, video games, Bluray movies, and smaller tech items.
Word of warning: Don’t abuse this trick as you’ll get caught and end up having to pay for all your pre-orders. But you can definitely use it a couple times a year without raising any red flags.
4. Use Subscribe & Save
We all have items in our life that we need to replenish on a fairly regular basis. Think about things like shampoo, soap, diapers, dog food, laundry detergent, trash bags, toilet paper, I could go on and on.
Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program is free to join and lets you get these items really cheap AND delivered to your doorstep for free. Again, no Prime membership required.
Plus, by taking advantage of Subscribe & Save, you’ll get up to a 15% discount on the regular everyday Amazon price.
From the Amazon site, here’s exactly how it works:
- Choose from thousands of eligible products in the Subscribe & Save store.
- Select your delivery frequency and create your subscription.
- Skip your deliveries or cancel your subscriptions at any time by visiting Your Account > Your Subscribe & Save Items.
- In advance of each delivery, we will send you a reminder email showing the item price and any applicable discount for your upcoming delivery. The price of the item may decrease or increase from delivery to delivery, depending on the Amazon.com price of the item at the time we process your order.
There’s no commitment once you subscribe, and Amazon will send you an email reminder before your order ships.
Bonus Hack: Learn How to Search for “Free Shipping” Items
Another great hack to quickly figure out which Amazon items ship for free is to do a product search, then refine your search by clicking on the “Free Shipping by Amazon” button (see image above).
You might not get the item delivered as quickly compared to having a Prime membership, but if you don’t need it right away, who cares? Free shipping is free shipping, no matter how long it takes to reach your doorstep.
Ask the Reader: How do you get free shipping on Amazon without paying $99 for an annual Prime membership?
By Kyle James