UPDATE: May 3 - As well as refreshing some of the text in this guide, we've also added a few handy links so you can get to the parts of Prime you're interested in.
For an annual or monthly price, Amazon Prime UK offers up multiple services and benefits. The subscription service has everything from entertainment to super-speedy delivery bundled in. Here we take a closer look at all the options available through Amazon Prime, to give you all the information you need to make sure you are making the right choice and, more importantly, getting your money's worth.
- Are you looking for a guide to Amazon Prime in the U.S.? See our guide to the American version of the service here.
For an initial 30 days, you can try Amazon Prime for free. It’s a great offer to test out all the things you might want to use, but remember to cancel when the trial ends, or you will get charged for the next month automatically, whether you want to continue or not!
The cheapest offer for Prime is a 12-month subscription for the price of £79. You are locked in for a whole year, but the other option, £7.99 a month, will cost you more overall unless you want it for a short period only, or cancel it for two months out of twelve every year. Unless doing either of those happens to work really well for your lifestyle or holiday plans, or you can't spare the lump amount from your bank account, you’re likely going to be better off paying for the year.
There are two cheaper, but more limited, options. Firstly, the £5.99 a month Prime Video subscription, which only gets you the TV and movie streaming part of normal Prime, but at a very reasonable price, especially when compared to the price of Netflix et al. There’s also Prime Student, which gives you a free six month trial, and then a £3.99 a month or £39.99 a year subscription price for the majority of Prime’s features, as long as you can prove your enrolment at a British or Irish university, such as with a valid university email address. You’ll be forced to stop or switch to a normal Prime membership when you graduate, or if you hit the end of the four year time limit.
You can get your Amazon packages sent at almost whatever speed you like with Prime. All delivery options for items sold by Amazon, aside from a couple of exceptions, cost the same. Express delivery costs more, but No Rush delivery will earn you promotional credit as a thank you for being patient.
Chances are though, you want one of Prime’s biggest benefits: unlimited one-day delivery. If the item’s eligible for it, you will get your purchase within a day, or slightly longer if you order it after that item’s daily cut-off time, visible on its store page.
Same Day delivery and Prime Now are even speedier options for a smaller selection of everyday items. You need to live in either Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Portsmouth or Sheffield to use them though. If you're wondering if your postcode counts, there's an online checker you can use to find out.
Same Day rockets your order to your address between 6pm and 10pm on the day you order it, provided that you ordered before 12pm. Prime Now gets you items within either two hours for £2.49 (or for free if you spend over £40 on an order), or within an hour for certain items for an additional £7.99.
If you’re too busy to guarantee being at your address to receive your parcels, then you can use Amazon’s Lockers instead. Prime membership gives you unlimited use of these self-service machines, or other collection services that Amazon uses like Doddle, Local Collect or Pass my Parcel, which can be found at various shops and supermarkets around the country.
Republic of Ireland residents will sadly miss out on the fastest options, but Prime members living there still get unlimited free two-day delivery.
Entertainment with Prime
Prime isn’t just a logistics thing, it also provides users an enormous music, TV, film and book library too.
Prime Video is an appealing service just on its own. Amazon knows this, and offers a discounted membership for people who just want that part of its offerings (see the Memberships section above). It’s also the only way to watch Amazon’s original content, which includes shows like Man In The High Castle, Jack Ryan, Outlander, The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel, as well as many others.
Amazon also offers ‘Channel subscriptions’, letting you buy additional third-party content through Prime for an extra monthly fee. If you're really into classic movies, reality TV, world cinema, workout videos or karaoke backing tracks, and plenty more besides, these options might persuade you into splashing out for Prime. See the selection of subscriptions here.
Prime Music has a lot going for it too, with over two million downloadable songs to stream, curated and personal playlists, and live English language commentary of Bundesliga 1 football games. This isn’t the same as Amazon’s Music Unlimited, which offers a whopping 50 million song library, but you can get the Unlimited package for a better price by being a Prime member. And a rotating collection of two million songs is still a lot of listening, so you're unlikely to get bored of what's on offer.
Every month, Prime members who own Kindles or Fire tablets get a little literary treat in the form of a choice of one free book from a selection of six on the Kindle Store. You can also borrow a book a month (you can read it for free, but you can only have one ‘borrowed’ book at a time), from a list of popular titles. You can also borrow from the Prime Reading collection, which allows up to 10 borrows from a fluctuating list of books, magazines, comics and audio books, on any device with the Kindle app, not just Amazon’s own products.
This is not the same as Amazon’s First Reads programme, which gives you more benefits on top of these, but it is still another part of the Prime package that most could appreciate, and some will really love.
Clothes aren’t left out of Amazon’s basket of Prime benefits thanks to Prime Wardrobe. Provided you live on the UK mainland, you can order up to £750 of clothes to your address, and then get 7 days to try them on once all the items have arrived. Within that week, you mark which ones you want to keep and which you wish to return on your order. After this, you then have another week after the try-on period ends to return the clothes you no longer want, without being charged for them.
If you’re a fan of livestream gaming, then Prime has you covered here too. With Twitch Prime, you are no longer shown adverts on the site, you get a free game or piece of in-game content every month, and also a free channel subscription, letting you support your favourite streamer without having to pay their normal subscription fee.
Need some groceries pronto? Amazon Pantry is an option for Prime customers in the mainland UK, letting them buy everyday items for £2.99 per box of goods (or 99p for each extra box) for delivery to their home. A 'box' here is a virtual limit on the weight or volume of goods you can buy before you have to pay for the additional packaging, which means that if your items are particularly heavy but small, or large but light, you won't always be charged the extra.
Any Amazon account is able to subscribe to a product, buying it automatically after a set period of time when you’re due to run out of it. When you subscribe to eligible childcare-related items, and provide some information about the child or children you’re buying for through the Amazon Family scheme, you can get a discount on baby food and nappies, along with receiving other offers and product recommendations based on the age of the child(ren).
Prime also gives you the use of Amazon Photos, a cloud storage platform for the images and videos taken on your devices. You get unlimited space to use, and you can view, share and tag them via a browser or on iOS, MacOS, Android or Amazon Fire devices using the Amazon Photos app.
Prime membership gets you an advantage when it comes to Amazon discounts. As well as exclusive deals that you can only get as a Prime member, you also get early access to daily and lightning deals. This can be especially handy at peak shopping times like Black Friday, where you have a much better chance of getting desirable items before the supply runs dry. Also, when Amazon Prime Day comes around, having a Prime membership is the only way to buy the products for their reduced prices.
Through Amazon’s Household settings, you can let an adult and up to four child accounts share your Prime benefits. They don’t have to be children of course, but those four users will not have the ability to buy anything through your Amazon account, only share the content and items already purchased on it via the Family Library. The adult account has the same abilities as the original account, so make sure you only share it with someone you trust to be sensible with your credit card details and the entirety of the Amazon catalogue at their disposal.
Try Amazon Prime for free for 30 days.