Amazon Prime – What is it Exactly?
Over 100 million people have joined the Amazon Prime program which gives them access to not only two-day shipping (soon to be one day shipping everywhere), but also exclusive member only deals on the well-known Prime Day, Amazon Prime Video, enjoy free two day shipping and a bunch of other services, specific to Amazon. The cost? $119 per year.
For most, the service simply makes too much sense, even just for the shipping perks alone but, when coupled with the other offers on the table, it’s a no-brainer.
As an example, for those who shop at Whole Foods and are Prime Members, they will save 10% on a selection of their Whole Food purchases. Additionally, it was recently announced by Amazon, that with price cuts coming in, they can double down on the discounts that will be able to save Whole Food shoppers an average of 20% on seafood, meats, in-season produce and other items/products.
As mentioned earlier on in the piece, Amazon is heavily engaged in bringing one-day shipping right across the US. It is even offering its current workforce in warehouses around the country, $10,000 to start delivery businesses. With most online stores now offering 2-day shipping and free shipping to compete against the behemoth that is Amazon, the big “A” must continue to offer something to Prime members to make them stay.
With Prime Day scheduled to be around Monday, July 8th, 2019 this year, offering one-day shipping before that time will be very handy.
There are also discounts for Prime members on digital services like Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, starting with a 30 day free trial and then $2.99 per month for Prime Member and $4.99 for non-members.
If you are a student then you can also get extra benefits from being an Amazon prime member, and these come by way of a 6 month trial (which is free) of Amazon Prime Student which will give you student specific special deals and coupons, along with all the normal benefits of being an Amazon Prime Member. You will need a valid .edu email address and be currently enrolled in a two or a four year college program. Once you trial does end, you will get the benefit of paying half the normal price for a Prime Membership for up to 4 years or until you graduate, whichever of those rolls around first.
So, there you have it, a number of benefits and features of becoming an Amazon Prime Member. I will do my best to answer a bunch of questions on the Amazon Prime Program.
Q.: What exactly is Amazon prime?
A.: Amazon Prime is a service that is provided to paid subscribers, giving them a variety of perks for being Amazon shoppers. It comes at a cost of $119 per year or can be paid monthly at $12.99. The biggest draw to Amazon Prime is free, one or two-day shipping.
Q.: What are the Reasons I Should Subscribe to Amazon Prime?
A.: There are a number of reasons that one would become an Amazon Prime member. Luckily for you, Amazon lists these reasons for us!
The big one, free 2-day shipping across the US on eligible items plus other shipping benefits as well. You can see a bunch more information on this, just head over to Amazon Prime Shipping Benefits.
Free same day delivery & shipping is also another big draw and will become much more commonplace at Amazon soon. Right now, you can check here to see if one day shipping is in your area, go to Amazon Prime Shipping Benefits.
Prime Now: If you are fortunate enough to live in one of the select cities offering Prime Now, Amazon can offer you one-hour, yes 1hr delivery on tens of thousands of products from stores local to you. Prime Now did recently expand its presence to include Cleveland, Pittsburgh, North/Central New Jersey, Louisville and Annapolis.
Prime Pantry: Members who have Prime Pantry as a subscription service, costing $4.99 per month (this is in addition to Prime membership) get access to low priced household, groceries and pet care products. You will get free shipping on unlimited orders of $40 or more. If your order does come in under this threshold, then you will have to pay a $7.99 shipping fee. For those in Alaska, Puerto Rico or Hawaii, sorry, you can’t get Prime Pantry shipped to you.
Savings from Amazon Prime
Discounts and Deals, all from the compliments of the Amazon Family: Your baby registry will earn you 15% off eligible items and through Subscribe and Save, you can get your diapers at 20 percent off. For more information, head over to this link on the Amazon site.
Video Games: If you are a Prime member, you can get yourself a $10 credit if you pre-order select video games.
Prime Early Access: Through Prime Early Access you will get yourself first access to any Lightning Deals on Amazon.com and any new event, through MyHabit.com. If you want to see more info on this go to About Prime Early Access.
Kindle First: More early access for Amazon Prime members within the US, this time to be able to download books from Kindle First Picks, one free every month. Head over to Kindle First if you would like more information.
FreeTime Unlimited: There is a ton of kid-friendly content here and a savior for parents, all directly to your account. It will cost $2.99 per month even if you have Prime membership, but the cost for non-members is $4.99.
Whole Foods: After Amazon acquired Whole Foods and in the blink of an eye, the behemoth slashed the prices on a range of items in the food store. Prime members can get access to savings that are exclusive to Prime members across Whole Foods locations nationwide. Coupled with Prime Now and in select cities, you can get deliveries within a 2-hour window.
Amazon Rewards Visa Card: If you are a Prime member and you also have an Amazon Visa Rewards Card, you are able to earn 5% on your Amazon.com purchases, 2% at drugstores, gas stations and restaurants and 1% back on any of your other purchases. Also, now that Whole Foods is in the mix, you will get 5% back from shopping with them, 3% if you are a non-member.
Entertainment: Prime Video, Prime Photos and Prime Music
Prime Video: Your Prime Video access allows for unlimited streaming of a nice selection of TV episodes and movies and you can also add subscriptions to other big name netweorks like HBO, Showtime, A&E, Starz, AMC and a lot more. You will see the library continuing to expand with new content and you can head over to About Prime Video if you want to learn more.
Prime Photos: Photo storage in the Amazon Cloud Drive that is unlimited photo storage and secure. Head to About Prime Photos to get more information.
Prime Music: More than 1 million songs coming to you unlimited and ad-free, for Prime members in the United States and also Puerto Rico. If you want to learn any more about Prime Music, head over to About Prime Music.
Kindle Owners’ Lending Library: Head to Prime Reading Kindle Owners’ Lending Library to learn more about access.
Video Add-On Subscriptions: Third-party streaming apps can be ordered though Amazon Prime so that you are able to keep all of your TV and movie content in one place. Add-ons like HBO Go and Showtime Anywhere as examples.
Twitch Prime: Get your hands on selected free games through Amazon, as well as in game loot. All with Twitch Prime.
Other Great Bonuses
Membership Sharing: Two people that live within the same residence or household can create what is known as Amazon Household and be able to share a certain number of Amazon Prime benefits. If you are interested in reading more about this, head over to About Amazon Households.
Amazon Elements: You can get access to Amazon Elements which are Amazon’s own line of your normal, everyday accessories.
Q.: Can I get Access to Exclusive Items?
A.: There are some signs that suggest Amazon could be heading in the direction of other large retailers like Walmart or Costco, where membership is required to shop at their locations. Amazon has experimented with Prime only member purchases, one instance a little while ago now, was the Nintendo Switch which was only available to Prime members.
This is also true of the Amazon Element products, which are only available to Prime members. As previously mentioned, these are everyday items like baby wipes and supplements.
Also noteworthy is that if you want to opt in for a no rush, free shipping method that will take around 5 to 7 days, you can earn some cash towards e-books, music and videos. Along with this, if you order an item that is Prime eligible, and it arrives after the two-day shipping that is guaranteed, you can contact Amazon customer service and they can extend your membership by one month.
Q.: So, How much Does it Cost to Become an Amazon Prime Member?
A.: Amazon Prime membership comes out at a fee of $119 per year or if you prefer, $12.99 per month. Typically, the first 30 days of your memberships ends up being free and you have the ability to cancel at any time.
If you are a student, then you are in for a bit of a break as well, as students can be part of the Amazon Student account. The Amazon Student account will provide many of the same benefits you can get as a normal Prime member but, it is free for the 1st 6 months. After that 6 months, you will have to then subscribe to a normal Prime membership however, at a 50% discount.
Q.: Is Amazon Prime Available to Give as a Gift?
A.: It certainly is. You just need to head over to the Amazon Prime gifting page, follow the instructions and add it into your cart. Just make sure that before checking out that you do check the box that states “The item is a gift” and then continue to final checkout.
Q.: Prime Day, what is it?
A.: Back in 2015, Amazon was looking for a way to celebrate it’s 20th anniversary and so Prime Day was born. Last year in 2018, Prime Day ran for two consecutive days making it the longest Prime Day to date. Retailers on Prime Day, reward Prime customers with well over 100,000 deals that are exclusive to Prime members. The Prime Day page will give you the latest info for the next Prime Day coming.
Q.: Explain Amazon Households
A.: When two individuals are living under the one roof with up to four kids, they can apply for Amazon Households to share digital content from the membership. The two adults can under that same roof will be able to share the benefits of Prime membership like the guaranteed two-day shipping, video streaming and access to the Kindle Library.
Q.: How do I Know Which Items get Free Two-Day Shipping with Amazon Prime?
A.: Honestly, most of the items that sell on Amazon.com now do qualify for the two-day shipping. It’s typically oversized items like furniture and exercise equipment (like treadmills) that take longer, but do get the free shipping applied.
Q.: Are There Kindle Books Available to Borrow?
A.: Yes, there are, Amazon says that there are more than one million available in the Kindle Library. All you need to do is go to the Kindle Lending Library, search for the book you want to read and if that book has the Prime logo, you are in luck, it qualifies, and you can read it for one month.
Q.: Amazon Prime Music, what is it?
A.: Similar to Spotify or Pandora, It is a streaming music service which Amazon Prime Music users can use to stream songs, albums or customize playlists specifically for themselves. There are over two million songs available, although it hasn’t quite caught up to the volume of Spotify and Pandora, yet.
Q.: Twitch Prime, what is it?
A.: If you are a gamer than you are probably all too well familiarized with the Twitch platform, which is a very popular game streaming service. What you may not know about is Twitch Prime. Amazon Prime members are able to stream the Twitch feeds completely ad-free. Unfortunately, only existing Prime members enjoy free access to this feature and they too will lose it when they are up for renewal.
Q.: Prime Now, what is it?
A.: Prime Now’s website and apps (for iOS and Android), offers free delivery of a selection of items within a 2-hour window. The program is slowly adding cities on a regular basis, along with originals Seattle, New York, Phoenix and Los Angeles.
When looking at the products offered under Prime Now, what we are talking about is mostly toiletries, groceries and small gifts. What you will likely see happen though as more partners come on board, is this offering growing to other items outside of the products above. If you want something extra fast, you can opt for a 1 hour window but you do get charged an additional $7.99. To check to see if you can access Prime Now in your area, jump over to the Prime Now Website.
Q.: Amazon Prime Video, what is it?
A.: This is the video streaming section of Amazon Prime. Like other major subscriber streaming companies like Hulu and Netflix, you can get yourself unlimited streaming to thousands of your favorite TV shows and movies. The difference between Amazon Prime and its competitors however, is that Prime offers on demand rentals and purchasing of video content. If you don’t want Amazon Prime and only want Amazon Video, it will set you back $8.99 each month.
Like other competitors in the streaming arena, Amazon Prime is gearing up with original content, with everyone trying to create the next Game of Thrones. Amazon more recently acquired the rights to JRR Tolkien stories and will be coming out with it’s own TV series based on the tales of Middle Earth. For now though you will just have to settle for original content like Mozart in the Jungle, Bosch, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel & Sneaky Pete.
You can also pick up additional channel subscriptions from other networks with your Prime membership like Starz, HBO, PSS Masterpiece & Showtime.
Q.: Do I need Amazon Prime Membership to use Amazon Streaming Services?
A.: You can yes, but you will have to rent or purchase each piece of content you are interested in streaming. There are a range of price differences when you do it this way, but you would likely be looking at around $2 for a single episode of a TV show or $30+ for an entire series. If you think you are going to be doing this often, just pay the $8.99 per month for Prime Video.
Q.: How can I Watch Amazon Prime Video Content?
A.: If you have an Amazon Prime Video subscription you will be able to access your content on any Mac, PC, iPad and any recent generation gaming console.
The Amazon Prime service is also available for those that have Apple TV, Roku devices or most any smart TV on the market these days.
Q.: Is Hulu or Netflix better than Amazon Prime Video?
A.: It really depends on what you are looking for. As mentioned earlier on, all these companies are competing with their own original content, some of it highly successful and others not so much. What is true though is that overall, original content is ruling TV screens right now.
The difference with Amazon Prime is if you are looking for a “bundle” that is free shipping, two-day shipping, a streaming video service, among all the other benefits of Amazon Prime, then it’s hard to say Hulu or Netflix compete. It’s especially valid for those Amazon fans who also own a Fire TV or a Kindle Fire.
Q.: Amazon Scout, what is it?
A.: This is Amazon’s more recent projects. Called Amazon Scout, this is another way that Amazon is exploring new way to get folks to shop, giving it’s customers recommendations in the kitchen, women’s shoes and home décor departments, based on their like and dislikes.
Q.: Any Reasons I Shouldn’t Subscribe to Amazon Prime?
A.: If you aren’t a frequent shopper on Amazon.com then it might not make the best sense to lock into a subscription that isn’t giving you their greatest benefit, savings on shipping. Do you like physical books rather than Kindle, and like to wander around Barnes & Noble to grab your books? Then again, maybe if this is couple with low Amazon shopping, the subscription might not be worth your while. Or, maybe you already subscribe to Hulu or Netflix and are perfectly content with the offerings they provide. Learn more about Amazon Prime here.