Amazon Prime is a great way to save money, and it has a lot of benefits that most people don’t realize! Be sure to check out why I love Amazon Prime, as well as some Amazon prime benefits you may not know about!
When I started college in 2008, I almost immediately signed up for Amazon Student. I loved the free shipping – especially on textbooks (I never paid more than about $150 on textbooks in college!) After I graduated and was no longer eligible for Amazon Student, we decided that we should sign up for it at regular price, simply because we use Amazon SO much.
Amazon Prime is a great feature that Amazon has – I believe it’s about $80 a year, but there are SO many benefits, it pays for itself over and over again. We love using it, and I don’t imagine we’ll ever cancel – and that’s saying something (we can be hard to please when it comes to subscriptions.) During Christmas alone, it more than paid for itself, since we did almost all of our shopping on Amazon.
We recently learned of a few awesome benefits of Amazon Prime, so I thought I’d share the popular and less well-known benefits of purchasing an Amazon Prime account, beyond just free shipping. If you read to the end, I’ll share a few ways to get it for even less!
1) Amazon Prime Music
Internet radio is super popular now – especially websites/apps like Pandora. I’ve used Pandora for a long time, but the ads always really bugged me! Forrest and I recently discovered that with our Prime membership, we get access to millions of songs ad free! Awesome, right? They have tons of songs in just about every genre, and we’ve loved playing it lately. You can use it on just about any device – so long as it supports Amazon music. So if you are like me and like listening to Pandora while working out, but you can’t stand it when a commercial comes on…Prime music is an awesome feature.
We also are able to have digital copies of our music bought from Amazon on our account, which is pretty cool, since we always seem to misplace our actual CDs!
2) Free Photo Storage
This is the feature that Forrest and I were most excited about, because we have tons of pictures on our computers. Your prime membership comes with UNLIMITED cloud storage for photos. If you have looked into cloud storage before, you probably know that it can be extremely expensive. You can use Prime Photo storage to store pictures from anywhere – including directly from your phone. I’m currently in the process of getting all my storage switched over to Prime Photo, because this is a killer deal.
3) Kindle Benefits
Kindle Lending Library
Amazon’s big claim to fame is obviously the Kindle. They have an incredible Kindle Lending Library that is included with Amazon prime memberships. Basically, you can check out one book from the lending library each month. You can keep it for as long as you want (no late fees), but you can only take one out at a time. If you enjoy reading on your Kindle (or you want to buy one), this is a great feature.
Kindle First is a program that are automatically enrolled in when you are an Amazon Prime member (and if you aren’t, you can sign up for a Kindle First membership or enroll in Kindle Unlimited…which is pretty sweet if you read a lot.) Anyways, at the beginning of the month, there are four editors’ picks that are available one month before their official publication date. You can download one of these for free (or at a very reduced price.) For the month of February, you can choose two titles!
4) Amazon Instant Video
I think most people have heard of this, but it’s worth noting. I’ll be honest – I don’t think they have the greatest selection, and we typically prefer to use Netflix. However, occasionally they have series that no other streaming service offers, so we like being able to use it. For instance, they had (and maybe still have) all of the seasons of 24 available. They do have a lot of television shows and movies (including all the newer episodes of Daniel Tiger, since I’m sure all of you are big fans of that show.) We have a Roku, Fire TV Stick (Amazon’s newest product), and a Samsung Smart TV, all of which have the Amazon Instant Video app on them.
5) Free Release Date Delivery
Anyone can sign up for release date delivery, but if you are an Amazon Prime member and select two-day-shipping, you can get free release date delivery for free. I only looked into this one a little bit (because, honestly, I’m not really a “must have this on the first day it’s out” type of person), but I”m not really sure if you select two-day-shipping if you’ll get it on the actual release date, or the day after. But it sure makes it sound like you’ll get it on the release date!
6) Early Access to Sales
Amazon offers some pretty great Lightning deals, and occasionally, Prime members get access to them 30-minutes early. If a sale is going to be particularly popular, this can really make a big difference.
7) Prime Pantry
If you like the idea of ordering groceries online and having them shipped directly to your house, this is definitely a feature worth looking into. Prime Pantry is for Prime subscribers only and the shipping is a flat 5.99 – no matter how much you order. They have everything from food, to medicine, to personal care items, and the prices seemed pretty reasonable to me. There are often digital coupons available that you can use on the products as well – for instance, right now, you can get a dollar of a 24 ounce box of Shredded Mini Wheats, making the final price 2.68. I will definitely be adding this to my grocery shopping strategy in the future (especially for non-perishable items.)
8) Amazon Elements
This is Amazon’s line of “basic” products. Currently, all I see available are wipes, but they are offered at a price great price. Right now, you can get a six pack of wipes for 10.99 – or $0.02 per wipe – which is a pretty good deal (or 10.44 if you sign up for subscribe and save.) I haven’t tried them, so I don’t know if they are good quality…but any Amazon-made product we’ve bought in the past has worked really well, so I imagine these will be good quality as well. I read that this may become big competition for the Honest Company.
9) Free Shipping
Obviously, this is probably the most well-known and used feature of Amazon Prime – free shipping! If you aren’t in a big rush, you can get your stuff shipped for free (most of the time – not all products are eligible!) And, if you want it even faster, you can usually just pay $2.99 for rush delivery. Most places charge an arm and a leg for rush delivery!
Something I noticed recently is that if you opt for even slower shipping, they’ll give YOU Amazon promotional credit that you can use in the future. I believe this is available for everyone, though, not just Prime members.
We buy a lot of stuff on Amazon, so the free shipping more than pays for itself in the end. I found this to especially be true when I was buying textbooks!
10) Amazon Echo
Have you heard of the Amazon Echo? It’s pretty cool – it’s basically a speaker that is similar to Siri. It can tell you the time, add things to your grocery list, look up the weather, play music…along with a bunch of other neat things. We’ve had one for several months, and we LOVE it. Some people think it’s just a fancy speaker…and, well, it is…but it has a lot of great features!
They just introduced Amazon Tap which is just a smaller, less expensive version!
Different Amazon Prime Options
Amazon Prime is $99 a year – which can be a bit pricey for some. For us, it’s more than worth paying that yearly fee. If you are a little hesitant, you can get 30 days free and you can cancel at any time in that 30 days – no questions asked. Even if you forget to cancel, as long as you haven’t bought anything using free shipping, you can get a full refund.
However, if you are still a little hesitant about the $99 a year, here are a few options to consider.
Share your Account
You can split it among household members – if you are under the same household, you can all split the cost and receive the shipping benefits. Unfortunately, only one account holder can access things like Amazon Instant Video. I imagine you could just give your password to them (or others, since you can ship to pretty much any address), but I don’t know if Amazon likes you doing that.
Amazon Student is what I did for a long time, because it’s very affordable. It’s half the price of a regular Amazon Prime membership (so only $49), and by signing up Amazon Student, you can get a free six-month trial. However, using the trial excludes you from certain benefits such as the lending library, instant video, and prime music. However, if you pay for the full membership, you get all those benefits! When I was in college, I mainly just used the free shipping, so the free six-month trial was awesome.
You are eligible for Amazon Prime if you have a .edu email address, which, I believe, most colleges will provide. I know at BYU they just had them forward to your regular email address, but they were available so you could sign up for things like this. If you are a student, be sure to check out my list of college student discounts!
Amazon Family is an awesome subscription service for parents, grandparents, and care givers of young children. It gives you access to some pretty amazing deals – especially on diapers and wipes. We almost always buy our diapers and wipes through Amazon Family, because often, the prices are awesome – especially since there’s free shipping, and I don’t have to leave my house! It is $99 a year to get the discounts, but it includes Amazon prime and all its benefits (including during the 30-day trial period.) You can sign up here!
We really do love Amazon and Amazon Prime (and I promise, this post wasn’t sponsored by them in any way.) It was really interesting to discover some more benefits lately, so I hope you’ve learned something new. I think Amazon Prime would be a great gift to give someone in college, newlyweds, or just anyone that you think might enjoy the benefits. Be sure to sign up for one the membership options below (I mean, they all come with some kind of free trial – you might as well!)
Katie is a Colorado-native, BYU graduated, and most importantly, wife to one and mother to three beautiful boys. She is passionate about sharing her experiences with others – especially about pregnancy, breastfeeding, cooking, and crafts. She is currently training to be a Certified Lactation Educator. She loves spending time with her family and helping others find joy in family life.
Donna J says
We have Amazon Prime and love it. We have done the subscribe and save ~ and it was really good….but you have to keep up with the shipping dates and the items to go out that month. I have ended up with 12 jars of instant tea…instead of just the 3 that I wanted for my spice tea recipe. My fault because I didn’t have the rotation set up properly. Also, Amazon will replace an item for free that shows up damaged ~ out cocoa powder busted open and they replaced it. Told us to keep the other container or donate it.
Yes, very important to keep an eye on the items that you do subscribe and save! I’m so glad that Amazon is so helpful when things go wrong!
As far as I know, the promotional credit you get for choosing a slower shipping speed *is* only for Amazon Prime members. Also, they just increased the minimum cost for free shipping for nonmembers. Long ago, it was $25 got you free shipping, and then it was $35 – now it’s $45! So Amazon Prime membership will potentially save you more money.
In terms of sharing an account, my parents have Prime and my siblings and I all use it. Technically we are 3-4 households now, but it hasn’t come up as a problem. We all have access with one password, and my dad forwards us the confirmation emails when items ship. Amazon lets you save various shipping addresses (with different names) so it seems like if they had a problem with people sharing an account, they would limit that option.
I think you are right about the promotional credit. I can’t believe they raised the free shipping for non-members to $45! That’s crazy. And we have a similar setup currently with our Prime account!
I have had Amazon Prime too for a couple of years and I love it. I have the Fire Box and the Fire stick both are amazing. You can play games, watch movies, upload photos, watch youtube, just about anything on them. I also love the free 2 day shipping. You’re right! It does really pay for itself especially around Christmas time and birthdays and any other occasion. I love my membership and will continue to use it every year. You can find just about anything on Amazon. I am always boasting about how much I love it and telling friends so that maybe they would join. I didn’t know they had a pantry either but I will sure have to try it! I love it!!
I’m glad you love it! It’s such a great thing to have!
with amazon student you do get access to the lending library and instant video everything a normal prime member gets i don’t know where you read you don’t
Last I heard you do!
janet h says
Please provvide links to all of these ideas. i.e. Music, etc.
Jennifer Powell says
I have been a member of Prime for a few years now, and while I was aware that Amazon sold food items, I had no idea there was a Prime Pantry. This is great. I work at a grocery store, so I hate shopping for groceries. I almost feel like I’m working on my day off. Also, many of the prices are very good. I’m definitely going to give this a try. Thanks for the new information.
I totally understand not wanting to go to the grocery store on your day off! Be sure to let me know if you like the pantry option!