The Verdict. Is it For You or Not? The answer is YES! Ok, we're only kidding, sort of, maybe.
It's hard to ignore just how much Amazon has been able to grow since starting as an online bookseller way back in 1994. '94. That's the dark ages of the internet!
Anyway, let's get to the reason why you're here. In honor of Prime Day we wanted to break down all the perks that you get for being an Amazon Prime member. So let's get started!
What's Included - What Exactly Do I Get With Amazon Prime?
Free Two Day Shipping
This was the original, main reason to become a Prime member. If you purchased enough during the year it just made sense. Still does of course but as you'll see below, they've added even more perks to sweeten the deal. But when it comes down to it, it's still all about the shipping. If you rarely shop online it probably doesn't make much sense to join, but if you're here reading this chances are you do shop online enough to consider it. Keep in mind that during the Holidays alone it almost pays for itself with all the gifts you'll probably be purchasing and sending everywhere.
Amazon Prime Delivery Time
Amazon ships Prime orders very fast and within 48 hours. Sometimes you'll even get your order the very next day depending on your location. My wife and I place orders all the time, once a week if you include Amazon Fresh orders, and it's very rare that there's a delay in shipping.
Amazon Same Day Orders
Something that you may not know is that they also offer same day shipping on over a million items on the main Amazon shopping site. But there's a few catches to that. 1) Your cart needs to have at least $35 worth of same day eligible items in it. 2) This isn't available everywhere. There's around 8,000 or so metro areas where this is possible right now. Now that they're pushing even harder to build their own delivery network, the areas where this will be available will only grow over time.
Amazon Two Hour Shipping
They also offer Prime Now - not to be confused with the Same Day Orders described above. Amazon Prime Now is same day deliveries within two hours of the order being placed. It's geared more towards getting food and groceries delivered fast from local restaurants and Whole Foods stores. But they even have gifts and seasonal items available too. Download the app to check it out.
Use your Prime Now Power for Good
These guys did an amazing experiment where they wanted to see if they could use Prime Now to get things delivered to people living on the street. What a great idea!
Amazon Prime at Whole Foods
There is the Amazon Fresh service where you order groceries on Amazon and have them delivered, but that's not included with your Prime membership. It's an extra monthly cost. But now that Amazon owns Whole Foods they've reduced prices on many items throughout the store. By up to 43% in some cases.
In addition to that they've recently started running exclusive in-store specials for Prime members. For example they're currently running a promotion to members who spend at least $10 inside the store now. They receive a coupon code worth $10 to spend online during the Prime Day event.
Read and Be Read To
If you're completely opposed to digital books then this perk might not mean much to you, but if you're open to it then you may find this one interesting. You can tell Alexa to read your audio books that come with your Prime account.
And a side note - Prime isn't required for this, but there's a lot of fun games to play on your Alexa too!
Kindle Devices & Apps
You'll get unlimited access to read from over 1,000 different books, magazines and even comics. Originally a Kindle device was required but now all Prime members can take part using Kindle apps for your phones and tablets instead of having an actual Kindle.
Amazon acquired Audible - an audiobook and podcast app - back in 2008. Although Audible can be used without Prime, members get a rotating selection of free audiobooks and podcasts each month at no additional cost.
Stream Over 2 Million Songs with Prime Music
It's no Spotify, but they've come along way since launch. There's a lot more artists and albums available now. Yeah, you might not always have access to the newest albums right away, but unless you have very specific music tastes there's bound to be hours of music you'll want to listen to. And if you've got an Echo you can say, "Alexa, play 80's music" and almost instantly Toto's 'Africa' starts playing. Is it life changing? No, but it's still pretty cool! And speaking of Echo and Alexa here's the full rundown on what you can do with Alexa powered devices.
In addition to a bunch of existing playlists like "50 Great 90's Alternative Songs" and "50 Great Songs from the Last 10 Years", you can also create your own playlists for easy playback later on at the gym.
Create Radio Stations
Similar to the playlists option above there's also a ton of random stations that you can just click on and a mix of songs will begin to play for you. So if you hit play on the "DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince" playlist for example you'll get songs from Vanilla Ice, MC Hammer, and even Dr Dre. Again, the algorithms aren't Spotify standard but depending on your level of music listening habits Amazon Prime Music is a great extra perk to have.
Stream Movies and Shows with Prime Video
After the free shipping this is the perk that could help you decide on signing up if you're on the fence about it. Just like Prime Music isn't Spotify - Prime Video is no Netflix killer, but that's not to say that there isn't great things to watch here. They frequently add new movies, rotate in older gems, produce their own Emmy winning movies and shows, and even allow you to download many of them onto your devices temporarily. Great for plane rides or road trips!
Start browsing Prime Video now.
Prime for Gamers
Into video games? If so being a Prime member can definitely pay off. You can save some serious cash on a lot of different games. Many games will show the manufacturers suggested retail price until you click into the game listing itself. Then you'll see savings as a Prime Member like you see here:
Not only do you save money on games but you'll also have many chances to receive them days ahead of the official release date:
And if you're a serious gamer we're sure you've heard of Twitch. Amazon scooped them up back in 2014. Being a Prime member gets you a bunch of free stuff like tees, in-game exclusive loot, and even full games. It also prevents you from having to see ads while on the site.
Here's two more perks that many current members don't even know about. Amazon Prime members get 5GB of general storage at Amazon Drive. It's an easy, quick way to save files. Now this won't get everyone all that excited but it is nice to have another place to back up photos and files. No harm in having back ups to your back ups!
And with Amazon Photos, Prime members get unlimited cloud storage specifically to back up and categorize all your photos from your last vacation or anniversary. With the Groups feature, you, family and friends can all upload photos to one central, safe collaborative folder. With the phone app you can automatically offload the photos you take to free up the space on your phone. Oh, and if you've got an Echo Show you can say, "Alexa, show my photos" to display slide shows.
How Much Does Amazon Prime Cost?
You've got a few different options depending on your situation.
For a total of $155.88 a year, you can choose to pay a monthly fee of 12.99 each month.
Or you can choose to pay for the whole year outright for $119 and save yourself $36.88.
In college or have a roommate who is? If so then the deal is even easier to decide upon. Currently Prime Student is only $59 for the entire year, and there's frequent deals that make it even cheaper at times.
The Verdict. Is it For You or Not?
The answer is YES!
Ok, we're only kidding, sort of, maybe.
Alright, In all seriousness it will most likely come down to how often you shop online. I get it. "Doesn't everyone shop online?", I hear you say. Yeah most do but some of us certainly order more frequently than others.
Do you live in the suburbs, don't mind shopping at local stores, and mainly do most of your online shopping and shipping during the Holidays? Eh, probably not worth it.
Do a bit of online shopping throughout the year, and absolutely hate going into stores during the Holidays? Probably worth it.
Do you live in a large metro city and rely on public transportation? Then you'll benefit from signing up.
Thinking about ditching cable, like a variety of movie and show genres, and do a decent amount of online shopping throughout the year? Yeah, it probably makes sense to sign up.
If you're on the fence it'll probably be Prime Video that helps you decide. If you're a movie person do a month first before committing to a full year. Run through Prime Video and see if their current selection looks like something you'd appreciate.
Maybe you don't order things online all that much but are on public transportation every day, and need a reliable source for music and podcasts. Prime Music and Audible might help you decide it's right for you.
We could go through a 100 different scenarios but I think you get the idea. If you're still unsure you can currently try it free for 30 days.