The perks of your membership go well beyond free shipping, movies and music
These benefits are prime.
Roughly 90 million people are Amazon Prime members in the U.S. alone, according to Statista. Millions of them pay $99 per year for an annual membership — or $49 if they’re students — so they can get access to free two-day shipping for thousands of items, streaming movies and TV shows and a library of music.
Experts say those perks are often a great deal — and that’s particularly true if you’re a frequent Amazon shopper, as the free shipping is still typically the biggest value proposition for consumers. Indeed, Prime tends to make a lot of sense for people who: 1) shop at least a couple times a month on Amazon; 2) tend to buy items sold through Amazon (versus third-party retailers, who are less likely to offer Prime shipping); 3) often purchase inexpensive items (you may get free shipping even without a Prime membership if you spend more than $25); and 4) like fast shipping.
Of course, you have to watch out for the so-called “Prime Trap,” in which Amazon Prime members end up spending significantly more on Amazon than non-Prime members because they don’t shop around. And, not all products are a good deal on Amazon either (use CamelCamelCamel.com to price check).
Still Prime is often a great deal. And that’s true, as the benefits extend well beyond the free shipping movies and music. “When most people sign up for Amazon Prime, they do so to get free two day shipping and often overlook the many other perks of this annual membership,” says savings expert Andrea Woroch. So here are 5 awesome Prime perks you didn’t know you were getting.
Free storage for your photos — and your friend’s photos.
Jennifer McDermott, a consumer advocate for personal finance comparison website finder.com, notes that if you’re fed up with your free limit on Apple iCloud, a Prime membership may be just what you need. “Prime subscribers also get access to PrimePhotos which gives you a place to store and organize your photos, explains Stephen Slaybaugh, a consumer analyst with DealNews.com. “Since you can access it on the web or via an app for iOS and Android — and share it with five people — it’s easy to coordinate a family’s worth of photos.”
Hundreds of dollars in cash back.
This one requires Prime members to get the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature credit card, but if you’re a frequent Prime shopper, who pays her bill in full and on time, it may make sense, says smart shopping expert Trae Bodge of TrueTrae.com. Perks include 5% cash back on Amazon purchases — and “sometimes there’s a signup bonus offer (I received a $70 gift card!),” Bodge notes — as well as cash back on non-Amazon purchases and additional benefits like travel accident insurance, baggage delay insurance and purchase protection. ”A new benefit of the Prime Rewards Visa is that when you shop with it at Whole Foods, you earn 5% cash back,” adds Bodge. Spend $5000 on Amazon in a year, and you’d pocket $250.
Don’t want to deal with a credit card? You can still get cash back. Amazon Prime members who load a balance onto an Amazon gift card from their debit card or checking account will earn 2% cash back.
Free books, magazines, comics and game streaming.
Prime members get free access to a rotating selection of more than 1,000 books, popular magazines, comics and more; this month, a number of best-selling books are on the list, as are magazines like Women’s Health and Good Housekeeping. (Every month you get about 50 free magazine issues free).
“Another benefit to Amazon Prime (for gamers) is Twitch Prime, which offers ad-free access to Twitch’s game streaming service and lets fans keep up with e-sports and other game-related programming,” says Slaybaugh. You can follow Twitch Prime on Twitter to see what games they have.
New books before they’re even available to the public.
This Prime perk, called Amazon First Reads, lets you “download one of six editors’ picks a month in Kindle format before the official publication date, either for free or at a reduced price,” Amazon explains. The March list included eight best sellers. And, adds Sarah Hollenbeck, a shopping and savings expert at Offers.com, Prime members can also pre-order eligible items like video games, books, music and movies and get them before 7 p.m. on the day they are released.
Account credits that you can use for cool stuff — when you don’t rush to ship something. “One of the Prime perks that I like is that ability to get a slight credit towards your Prime bill or a discount on selected items by selecting no rush shipping,” says Drew Kalinski, the ecommerce manager at Ayer Comfort. “So if you don’t need the 2-day shipping that comes with prime you can select no rush shipping.” Bodge says the credit is often “$1 credit towards a free digital download. You can rack up those credits and get that album you’ve had your eye on.”
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