Amazon Prime ($99 a year or $10.99/month; amazon.com) is probably best known for its two-day shipping option, which allows customers to have their favorite products delivered to their doorstep at no additional cost.
Amazon also offers free same-day shipping for Prime Members in about 5,000 cities. You can check to see if your ZIP code makes the cut here. And if you buy a decent amount of items from the online mega retailer throughout the year, chances are you’ve probably already made up for your membership dues. It often takes only one or two purchases to break even.
But if you’re just using the service for shipping, you might be missing out. Amazon Prime isn’t a one-trick pony.
Amazon has added a number of additional features to sweeten the deal. Some of these are free add-ons, like access to Prime Music’s extensive 2 million song library, and some of them will cost extra, like grocery deliveries through Amazon Fresh. The common denominator is that all of these services are available only to customers with Prime accounts.
And when you factor in value these eight lesser-known features, the $99-a-year subscription makes Amazon Prime so worth it.
If you’re raising an infant, chances are you’d rather have a discount on more practical items like diapers, instead of a new TV. That’s where Amazon Family comes in. There, you can access deals through their subscribe and save program, which includes 20% off a diaper subscription. If you’re expecting, Amazon Family also offers a Baby Registry so that friends and family can send gifts in a flash. And to help you prepare for you new addition, Amazon Baby Registry includes discounts on selected items that span the categories of Baby, Beauty, Grocery, Drugstore and its Maternity Departments.
If two-day shipping and same-day shipping isn’t fast enough for you, Amazon Prime offers Prime Now. The service lets you place an order on selected items (the bulk of it being household products and everyday essentials) through its app or the website, and will deliver them within one hour for $7.99. But if you don’t want to spend money on delivery and don’t mind waiting an extra 60 minutes, Amazon’s free two-hour delivery works just as well.
Amazon Prime Video has received critical acclaim for its original series, including Golden Globe winner “Mozart in the Jungle,” and Emmy and Golden Globe award winner “Transparent,” both of which can be streamed only through the platform. But it’s not just original programming that’s available through Amazon Video. You have access to thousands of titles at no cost. Movie night, anyone?
In addition to a free video vault, Prime members can purchase channel subscriptions to Showtime, Starz and other channels. These are cheaper than a subscription on another site. For example, Showtime on Amazon costs $8.99 a month, a lower price than the standard of $11. If you consider yourself a cord-cutter, this is an easy and relatively cheap way to have access to your favorite TV channels.
Amazon is trying to hold its own against some of the biggest online delivery services. Through Amazon Restaurants, Prime members can order takeout from popular eateries in their area. The main difference between this service and other more established players in the industry is the guaranteed delivery window. Through the site, Prime Members can get their meals delivered within an hour. Amazon claims that its average delivery time is just 39 minutes. And if you like to order with your eyes first, the service allows you to view photos of each item on the menu. Although delivery isn’t always free, they offer limited-time discounts, like $10 off your first order.
Amazon isn’t just getting into the restaurant delivery business; it’s also trying its hand at online grocery shopping. With Prime Pantry and Amazon Fresh, members can have practically all their groceries and household goods delivered to their door. Prime Pantry features mostly low-price, non-perishable grocery products, household goods and pet care items that are shipped at a flat fee of $5.99 per box. Amazon Fresh’s delivery isn’t free either — you’ll pay an additional $14.99 a month to receive items like fresh products, juices and meats delivered in insulated boxes. But at the end of the day, both services save you time. That’s pretty priceless.
When you pay for a Prime membership, you automatically gain access to Prime Music. Much like Prime Video, this is a collection of top songs for you to craft into playlists. Tracks play uninterrupted and you have unlimited skips. And if you’re on the go and can’t access service, you can download Prime Music to the app to play while you’re offline. Prime Music is compatible with smart devices and on Amazon-affiliated devices like the Echo ($179; amazon.com) and Fire TV ($89.99, amazon.com). Hit it, Alexa.
If you’re an avid Black Friday shopper, brace yourself for Prime Day. It’s Amazon’s version of a one-day-only global shopping event that’s only offered to Prime members. In 24 hours, members will be treated to remarkable cutbacks and deals on thousands of products. But if you’re looking for exclusive access earlier than Prime Day, Amazon allows Prime Members to get 30-minute early access to its Lightning Deals all year.