Amazon Prime has become an indispensable companion for online shoppers. The service, which costs $119 per year, offers free two-day shipping to more than 100 million subscribers. But the benefits don't end there. Amazon frequently adds perks to keep its existing customers happy and attract new shoppers. Last year, the online retailer announced free 2-hour Whole Foods deliveries via its Prime Now service. Prime members can also apply for an Amazon Visa card that offers 5 percent back on Whole Foods purchases.
Are those benefits worth the cost? It's a more valid question than ever after Amazon's last price hike. Here are the top Prime perks to help you decide if Prime is right for you.
Arguably the most important Amazon Prime perk is its shipping offer. Amazon Prime customers get free two-day shipping through the service, and can get overnight shipping for as little as $2.99 per item. Amazon also offers same-day delivery on qualifying orders in certain cities, as well as special offers on products with its “no-rush shipping,” which Prime customers can choose if they’re willing to wait a bit longer for an item.
Although it's only available in select markets, Prime Now gives consumers the opportunity to receive select items in as little as an hour. Prime Now is offered on thousands of items sold through Amazon. Most recently, Amazon announced its extending Prime Now to include food and products purchased at Whole Foods. The service is currently available in Cincinnati, Dallas, Austin, and Virginia Beach with plans to roll it out nationwide later this year. All this comes as Amazon seeks to merge AmazonFresh with Prime Now, its grocery delivery service.
Amazon’s Prime Video has become a real competitor in the streaming-video market, thanks to popular original series like “Transparency,” which has won several EMMY awards. In addition to original programming, the streaming service, which comes free with a Prime subscription, offers a wide range of network and broadcast television content, as well as lots of free movies.
Prime Pantry is designed to be an easily accessible service for people to stock up on household goods. The service sells everything from food and beverages to cleaning and beauty items. Better yet, it offers pre-selected “theme boxes,” so customers don’t need to spend too much time picking and choosing products. Prime Pantry is available only to Amazon’s Prime subscribers and offers free shipping on up to five qualifying items. After that, shipping costs a flat fee of $5.99 per Pantry box.
Another Prime benefit for foodies is lower pricing at Whole Foods. Prime members will soon be able to enjoy lower prices at Whole Foods stores. In addition, some Whole Foods stores now double as Amazon lockers where Prime members can pick up and make returns.
Amazon’s Lightning Deals offers customers the opportunity to get a compelling offer on select items. However, because the deal is offered for a limited time and on a limited supply, customers need to move fast. To give Prime subscribers a better chance at finding a deal, Amazon offers them access to the deals 30 minutes before its non-subscribers. Who doesn’t like to get a jump on a good deal? And with Prime Day right around the corner, there's another reason to sign up — or at least try — Amazon's Prime service.
Prime Reading is a relatively new perk that allows users to read more than a thousand books, magazines, comics, and other content for free. Best of all, there is no limit on how much content Prime subscribers consume and on which device they decide to read it. Think of Prime Reading as a one-stop shop for heavy readers to get access to the content they care about – and not have to pay for it in the process.
Amazon has spent the last several years investing heavily in the cloud, and is now one of the foremost content delivery companies in the world. However, Amazon has also found a way to bring cloud delivery to Prime subscribers by offering them unlimited photo storage in its service. The Prime Photos offer means users can upload photos from any device to Amazon’s cloud and, whenever requested, download that content to the device of their choosing.