Amazon is one of the most popular and well-known retailers in the world.
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Plus, you can find pretty much any item you could think of on there, from dining room tables to pet food.
If you shop on Amazon a lot, then you’ve probably heard about Amazon Prime. You often see that little blue Prime logo next to product titles on there.
It’s a membership program offered by Amazon that provides a plethora of benefits.
In this Amazon Prime review, we’ll cover everything there is to know about it, from the benefits of joining, criticism and complaints, to how to get the most out of your membership.
And, answer the question that many people who consider getting a membership have: “Is Amazon Prime worth it?”
And we’ll show you a simple way to calculate whether or not Prime is worth paying for, for you personally, in less than 30 seconds.
But before we get there, let’s see what it actually is and offers…
What is Amazon Prime?
Prime is a membership program offered by Amazon.
You pay a monthly or annual fee to become a member, and, in return, you get access to a number of benefits and features.
The main two, however, are free two-day shipping on all eligible items, and access to Prime Video.
With PV, you can stream unlimited movies, TV shows, and documentaries.
The program is open to anyone with an Amazon account.
Joining takes just minutes.
You’ll need to have a regular Amazon account to get started. So, if you don’t have one yet, then you will need to set one up.
Once you’ve done that, you can click on “try prime” underneath the Amazon logo on the homepage.
Or, you can go to this page to sign up.
How much does Amazon Prime cost?
To become a member, you need to pay a monthly or annual fee:
- $10.99 per month
- $99 per year
You can also just pay $8.99 solely for Amazon Video. But, we recommend against that, because for just two dollars a month more, you get access to so many additional features that are worth way more than a couple of bucks.
Can you get a free trial or a discount?
Handily enough Amazon offers a free trial of Prime. So, you can try the service and see if it’s for you before you have to part with any cash.
What’s great is that this trial isn’t just for a week, like it is with many other streaming services.
It’s a 30-day trial!
This means that you can use it for a whole month for free.
And, if you are a student when your free trial ends, you get a huge discount on your subscription.
You get an Amazon Prime Student membership for 50% off which comes down to $49 per year.
That’s a really generous deal.
Features and Benefits of Prime: Why should you join?
Once you are a member, you get access to tons of different features and benefits as part of your membership.
Amazon has created a unique service that really isn’t matched by anyone else.
Below is a detailed breakdown of the features, services, and benefits you get as a member.
1. Free Shipping
Shopping online is great.
You can find what you want with a few clicks or taps, without having to search through the shelves, as you do at a traditional brick and mortar store.
Plus, you can shop from the comfort of your own home.
But, there is one huge downside – the cost of shipping.
Yes, shipping fees are the Achilles heel of online retailers.
No one wants to pay $5 for shipping on that bargain item they found for $2.
Over time, the cost of shipping can really add up and outweigh the low-cost prices offered by online retailers like Amazon.
That’s why joining AP can be such a good idea. As a member, you get free shipping on eligible items. In fact, free shipping is a big part of the service.
How Free Shipping works
As a member, you get free shipping on items that are eligible (although there are ways to get free shipping without Prime!)
When you next shop on Amazon, look for the Prime logo next to products. It’s these products that qualify for free shipping.
What’s great is that for most delivery options you don’t need to hit any minimum spending threshold to qualify for it either. You can spend any amount, and as long as your order contains qualifying items, you won’t have to pay for delivery.
So, you could have an order worth $5 or $500 and you’d get free shipping for both.
When you put an item into your basket, the shipping fees are automatically deducted.
And, you can choose the delivery option that you want at the checkout.
Types of free shipping
As part of AP, not only is shipping free, but it’s upgraded too!
Sure, you can get free standard shipping on eligible orders, but that’s not all.
You don’t just get free standard shipping, but you get access to a plethora of quick delivery options.
Here are the types of free shipping, aside from standard delivery, that are available for free to members.
- Two-Day Shipping: This is one of the main selling points of AP. On eligible items, you can get free two-day shipping, if you live in the contiguous United States.
- One-Day Shipping: If two-day shipping isn’t fast enough for you, then you’ll be glad to know that you might be able to get free one-day delivery as a member of AP. While two-day shipping is free on all orders, regardless of how much you spend, if you want to qualify for free one-day shipping, then you’ll need to spend a minimum of $35. Plus, not all areas qualify for free one-day delivery.
- Release Date Delivery: If you pre-order items frequently on Amazon, then you’ll be glad to know that you could have these items delivered to you, for free, on their release date.
- Same-Day Delivery: Amazingly enough, if you live in an eligible zip code, you can get free same-day delivery on some items. So, not only do you get your items shipped to you for free, but you also get your stuff incredibly quickly. While there isn’t a spending minimum in place for most delivery options with Prime, like two-day shipping, for example, there is sometimes one in place for same-day delivery orders. Amazon states that members can qualify for free same-day shipping on orders worth $35 or more.
There’s also no-rush shipping and Saturday shipping available for free too.
And, that’s not all…
AP members also get access to a service called Prime Now.
Even faster delivery from Prime Now
PN is another great service that members have access to.
With it, you can get free two-hour delivery on more than 25,000 items on Amazon, from 25 categories, including:
- Household items
- Seasonal items.
But, that’s not all.
With PN, you can also get free local store delivery in:
- Los Angeles
- San Diego
- San Francisco Bay Area
And, if you want to order from a local restaurant, through Prime Now, then you can get free 1-hour delivery.
Free 1-hour delivery is available in the following areas:
- San Francisco
- San Jose
- Los Angeles
- Orange County
- San Diego
- Northern Virginia
- Washington, D.C.
- Las Vegas
- Portland, OR.
All you need to do to shop these items is visit this page, and enter your ZIP code.
If you live in an eligible ZIP code, then you will be able to shop at Prime Now, a local store or a restaurant.
Once you’ve found what you want to order, you can choose a delivery window. Then, a local courier will deliver your items to you within that time window.
If you make a restaurant order, then it is delivered within 1 hour of the time you placed it.
2. Prime Video
Another huge benefit of joining is that you get access to Prime Video.
This is a streaming service.
You can view a huge catalog of movies, TV shows and documentaries, which you can stream at any time.
And, you can stream these titles across multiple devices, like:
- iOS devices
- Android devices
Once you’re logged into your account, you can start watching titles on the platform.
Here’s what content is available on Prime Video:
There’s a great mix of movies, new and old on there.
Here are a few examples of films available to stream at the time of writing:
- Star Trek Beyond
- Terminator Genysis.
- Gangs of New York
- No Country for Old Men
- Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
– TV Shows
Movies aren’t all that’s on offer.
Amazon also features some popular TV shows, like
- The Wire
- The Sopranos
- Boardwalk Empire
- SpongeBob SquarePants
– Original Content
Amazon also provides its own original content, which is exclusive to the platform.
Here are a few examples of Amazon Original shows that are on offer, at the time of writing:
- Sneaky Pete
- Hand of God
Navigating the platform
Finding what you want to watch on Prime Video is pretty easy.
All of the content on the platform is separated into categories, like TV shows and movies.
Plus, you can also browse titles by genre.
There really is any genre you could think of on there, from comedy to horror.
3. Prime Music
Aside from always getting shipping for free, and being able to stream movies, TV shows and documentaries across multiple devices, you also get access to music.
Prime Music is an ad-free music service. It features more than one million songs.
You can access the music library across multiple devices, including:
- Amazon Echo
- Amazon Music for Web (https://music.amazon.com)
- iOS devices
- Android smartphones
- Android tablets
- Fire phone
- Fire tablets
- Amazon Fire TV
- Fire TV Stick
- Sonos devices
- Bose SoundTouch systems
- Desktop computers
You get access to curated playlists and personalized stations too.
You can stream music, but you also have the option to download it too. This means that you can listen to music when you’re offline as well.
Music is updated frequently, so there’s always new stuff to listen to.
4. Prime Photos
Amazon offers its AP members unlimited photo storage, for free!
So, if you’re looking for a good cloud storage system to store your images, then this could be a really good option for you.
And, it’s not only you who can benefit from this free storage space. Your family members also can too.
You can add up to five people to your Amazon Family Vault and they can also add photos.
Plus, you also get 5GB of storage for videos and other files.
There are search and organization features available too in Amazon Drive that make finding the files you want easy.
You can upload and access your photos using the Prime Photos app or the Amazon Drive app, as well as through an internet browser on your PC.
5. Prime Pantry
A lesser known, but still super beneficial feature of AP is Prime Pantry.
This is a service that you can use to get items shipped to you that aren’t cost-effective for Amazon to ship individually.
With PP, you can purchase a box of grocery, household and pet care items.
Just visit the Amazon Pantry Store to view eligible items, or browse Amazon.com as you normally would, and look for items that have the Prime Pantry logo under the title and price.
Ordering a Pantry Box
Once you’ve found a PP eligible item, you can place it into your cart.
The first item you add to your cart starts a new Pantry Box, which you can start filling.
Each pantry box can weigh up to 45 pounds.
Handily enough, Amazon.com tells you what percentage of your box each item will take up.
Once your box gets to 100%, it’s time to check out and have the box delivered.
Shipping a Prime Pantry Box
If you add five qualifying items to your Pantry Box, then you can get it delivered for free.
Otherwise, you have to pay a flat shipping rate of $5.99.
That’s still pretty low considering that your box can weigh up to 45 pounds.
Generally, your Pantry Box will arrive within four business days.
Unfortunately, Amazon Pantry boxes can only be shipped to people in the contiguous United States.
So, you won’t be able to get one shipped to addresses in Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.
6. Exclusive Discounts
Amazon also gives AP members access to plenty of exclusive discounts.
Here are a few that you can enjoy:
- Prime Early Access: With this feature, you get to view Lighting Deals on Amazon, 30 minutes before non-AP members do.
- Prime Rewards: If you join AP and use an Amazon Prime Visa Rewards Card or an Amazon Prime Store Card, then you earn 5% back when you shop on Amazon.com. Or, with Prime Reload, which is a feature that allows you to reload a gift card, you earn 2% rewards.
- A cheaper Subscription to Amazon Music Unlimited: As we mentioned above, PM is one of the free features that AP members have access to. But, Amazon also offers another music streaming service called Amazon Music Unlimited. With PM, you have access to more than two million tracks, but with Music Unlimited, you have access to tens of millions of songs. It costs $9.99 per month for Amazon Music Unlimited. But, if you’re an AP Member you get a discount. AP members can access Amazon Music Unlimited for just $7.99 a month.
- Discounts and other deals through Amazon Family: Amazon Family is a service provided by Amazon that offers family-oriented coupons and other money-saving deals. You can get 20% off diaper and baby food subscriptions. Plus, if you open a baby registry with the platform, then you get a 15% completion discount.
7. Audible Channels for Prime
As an AP member, you get access to Audible channels, which are worth $60 per year, for free.
You get unlimited listening to original audio series, as well as playlists.
Plus, you can also listen to Prime Exclusive Audiobooks.
All you need is your AP membership and the Audible app, which is free.
8. Kindle Benefits
Members also get access to a number of Kindle-specific features and benefits, like:
- Kindle Owners’ Lending Library: This is a feature that allows AP members to borrow one book from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library each month, for free. This book can be read on your Kindle e-reader, Fire tablet, or Fire phone.
- Prime Reading: With this feature, you can borrow books, magazines and other reading materials from the Prime Reading catalog. And, unlike with the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, you don’t need to have a Fire or Kindle device to read them. Titles borrowed from Prime Reading can be read on any Kindle e-reader or Fire tablet, but they can also be read with Kindle reading apps on iOS, Android and Samsung devices.
- Kindle First: Another feature of AP that book-lovers will enjoy is Kindle First. It gives you early access to new books. And, you can download a new book each month from the Kindle First picks for free. You get to choose one out of six titles, selected by editors a month before the official publication date. At the beginning of each month, Amazon announces new titles.
Free shipping and access to movies and TV shows and the other features and services mentioned above aren’t the only benefits of joining AP.
You also get access to many other features, like:
9. Amazon Elements
Amazon has its own line of products, and as a member, you have exclusive access to them.
10. Amazon Dash for Prime
One of the more futuristic features on offer to Prime members is Amazon Dash Buttons.
An Amazon Dash Button is a device that you can place anywhere in your home and use to order items with just the click of a button.
They are Wi-Fi connected devices.
You can get buttons for a plethora of different brands, like Charmin, Neutrogena, Tide, and Bounty.
Using the Amazon app, you can pair your Dash button to the product you want. Next, you place the button somewhere in your home, like in the kitchen or pantry.
For example, if you have a Charmin button, then you could place it in the bathroom. Then, when you’re running low on the item, simply press the button to reorder it.
Only AP members have access to Dash Button devices.
11. Amazon Channel Subscriptions
As a member, you can also purchase subscriptions to channels, in addition to the content you get through Prime Instant Video.
You can subscribe to channels like HBO, Starz, and Showtime, directly through Amazon Video.
12. Twitch Prime
Twitch is a video platform and community for gamers.
Members can get discounts on physical game pre-orders and new releases.
Plus, if you’re a Twitch.tv user and you link your AP account, then you get access to ad-free viewing on Twitch, as well as free game content and a free Twitch channel subscription each month.
13. Membership Sharing
You can set up an Amazon Household account, and share certain Prime benefits with others.
Amazon Household can include up to six members.
Is Amazon Prime worth it?
Okay, so now you know what benefits you get for joining, you’re probably wondering, is paying for it really worth it?
After all, membership isn’t free.
You have to pay for it monthly or annually.
But, is the $10.99 per month or $99 per year worth it?
Do you get your money’s worth?
The answer is a resounding yes.
If you order things on Amazon regularly or stream content through Amazon Video, then the cost of the membership is definitely worth it.
In fact, in many cases, the amount you save in shipping fees and on cable subscriptions or buying/renting movies and shows, is actually much more than the cost of the membership itself.
Is it worth it for streaming?
The titles available on AP alone make the cost of membership worthwhile.
With Prime Video, you get access to thousands of titles.
Cable bills can cost $99 per month – which is Amazon’s annual fee for the membership and far more than the $10.99 a month you pay to stream content on Amazon.
And, buying or renting movies and TV shows online is also expensive.
A recent survey found that the average Netflix user watches five TV shows and three movies a week. So, that’s eight titles per week.
Even if you only paid $2 to rent each one, you’d still spend $832 per year on movies and TV shows.
With Amazon, however, you only pay $99 per year with an annual subscription, or $131.88 a year if you pay monthly.
That’s a substantial saving.
Plus, many streaming services are similarly priced, or more expensive.
But, you don’t get the range of other benefits and features that come along with AP, like access to music and free shipping.
- Hulu costs $11.99 a month for a no-commercials plan.
- HBO Now costs $14.99 a month.
- Sling TV costs $20 a month.
As you can see, the cost of Amazon Prime is often cheaper than the cost of many other streaming services.
But, you don’t just get streaming with it.
Streaming is just a small part of the AP package. Amazon offers so many additional features within its AP service that make it one-of-a-kind and truly worth your money.
Netflix is a service that’s commonly compared to Prime Video. It costs between $7.99 and $11.99 per month (although there are better, less cheaper Netflix alternatives out there, and you can even get Netflix for free), depending on which membership tier you choose. So, like Hulu, it’s similarly priced to Prime.
But, how else does Netflix compare to Prime Video?
Amazon Prime vs. Netflix
When it comes to video streaming, AP and Netflix are incredibly similar.
They are similar in terms of performance.
Both are easy to use platforms, although Netflix’s user interface is, arguably, a bit cleaner.
And each one provides fast, high-quality, reliable streaming.
They both offer a good mix of television shows, movies, and documentaries.
And, both Prime Video and Netflix can be used on multiple devices, like your tablet, games console, desktop computer or Smart TV.
But, they also have some pretty stark differences.
The main one being that Netflix is solely a streaming service. It doesn’t provide any other features.
With AP, you not only get access to movies and TV shows, but you also get free music and, most importantly, unlimited free shipping on eligible items.
Amazon has a great selection of content that is comparable to what’s on offer on Netflix.
Don’t assume that because Netflix is solely a streaming a platform that it offers more titles. It doesn’t.
Although streaming platforms like Amazon, Netflix and Hulu don’t give exact figures for the amount of movies and TV shows that are in their catalog, it’s reported that Amazon Prime has four times as many titles as Netflix does.
As they’re similar in price, AP definitely gives you more for your money than Netflix does, especially if you shop on the platform a lot.
Is Amazon Prime worth it for Free Shipping?
Even if you never watch any of the free titles available through AP, the amount you’ll save in shipping costs definitely makes joining it worthwhile.
Shipping costs can be anywhere from $3 to $11 and more in some cases.
So, if you can save even $3 per delivery, it significantly lowers the cost of each order you place on Amazon.
Slate has a handy “Amazon Prime Worth It Calculator”.
With this calculator, you can enter the number of orders you’ve placed on Amazon over the past year and how many of them were eligible for Prime delivery.
Then, it will let you know whether an AP membership would save you money.
It’s not the best way, however, to determine whether AP would be worth it for you. This is because it uses the minimum standard shipping rate of $3.99 in its calculations. And, that is not always the exact cost for shipping – sometimes rates can be higher or lower.
Find out if Prime is worth it for you in less than 30 seconds
The best way to determine whether AP is worth it when it comes to shipping is to review your last few Amazon purchases and see how much you could have saved if you got free delivery through AP.
Since Prime only costs $10.99 per month, if you order at least three items each month, then your membership pays for itself.
For those unfamiliar, here is what you need to do to:
- Login to your account by going to: https://www.amazon.com/your-account
- Click on “Orders” (find the tab on the upper right corner of your dashboard under the search bar.)
- Once on your “Orders” page, click the drop down menu to see your orders based on chosen time periods (last month, last 6 months, last year, etc.
If you’re averaging 3 orders or more each month, then paying for AP is worth it.
And, you haven’t even factored in the value of the video streaming service and the other features that come along with your membership yet.
Example of what you can save on shipping with Prime over 6 months
Let’s take a look at an example to better illustrate how much an AP membership can save you on shipping costs.
The example below is based on an example person who buys four items each month from Amazon, over a 6 month period.
The cost of shipping for each item is taken from Amazon’s estimated shipping totals available at the time of writing.
- Cell Phone Camera Lens: $6.10 shipping
- Herbal Essences Biorenew Coconut Milk Hydrate Shampoo, 13.5 Fl Oz (2 Count): $5.48 shipping
- Bounty Select-a-Size Paper Towels, White, Huge Roll, 12 Count: $13.27 shipping
- Tide PODS Spring Meadow Scent HE Turbo Laundry Detergent Pacs, 81 count: $8.79 shipping
- Leathario File Folder Padfolio Writing Pad Business Presentation Folder Portfolio (Black-A4-4L): $7.34 shipping
- AmazonBasics Classic Notebook – Ruled: $6.55 shipping
- Cascade Complete ActionPacs Dishwasher Detergent: $7.32 shipping
- Arm & Hammer 2-IN-1 Laundry Detergent Power Paks, 62 ct: $7.14 shipping
- Glad Tall Kitchen Drawstring Trash Bag – 13 Gallon – 90 Count: $8.07 shipping
- SanDisk 16GB Class 10 SDHC UHS-I Up to 80MB/s Memory Card: $8.05 shipping
- Anker PowerCore+ mini, 3350mAh Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger: $5.99 shipping
- Panasonic ErgoFit In-Ear Earbud Headphones Dynamic Crystal Clear Sound, Ergonomic Comfort-Fit: $6.07 shipping
- Neutrogena Rainbath Replenishing Shower And Bath Gel: $5.48 shipping
- Softsoap Liquid Hand Soap, Pomegranate and Mango – 7.5 fluid ounce (12 Pack): $10.58 shipping
- Mecraft 16 Ounce Black Ceramic Coffee Bean Mug: $7.04 shipping
- BIC Round Stic Xtra Life Ball Pen, Medium Point (1.0 mm), Black, 36-Count: $3.79 shipping
- The Hobbit Paperback by J. R. R. Tolkien: $6.98 shipping
- Cottonelle Ultra ComfortCare Family Roll Toilet Paper, Bath Tissue, 36 Toilet Paper Rolls: $11.22 shipping
- AmazonBasics AA Performance Alkaline Batteries (48 Count): $6.96 shipping
- Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, Citrus Blend, 105 Count (Pack of 4): $11.89 shipping
- iPhone 6s Plus Case, JETech Apple iPhone 6s/6 Plus Case: $4.23 shipping
- AmazonBasics Apple Certified Lightning to USB Cable – 6 Feet: $6.07 shipping
- AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI Cable – 10 Feet: $5.00 shipping
- Centrum Adult Multivitamin / Multimineral Supplement Tablet, Vitamin D3 (200 Count): $5.55 shipping
Total = $174.96
If you pay for Prime monthly, then you only pay $10.99 each month. So, over 6 months, it costs you $65.94.
In the example above, the cost of shipping breaks down to $29.16 per month, which is far more than the cost of an AP membership for that same period.
So, not only does the amount you save in shipping pay for your membership, but you’d actually save an additional $18.17 per month on shipping fees.
And, if you choose to pay for your membership yearly, then you’ll save even more.
Prime costs $99 per year.
So, if you break that down over 12 months, then it works out at about $8.25 each month.
So, again, not only would the money you save in shipping fees cover the cost of your membership, but you save an additional $20.91 per month.
And, if you double the example shipping cost total above to get a 12-month shipping cost total of $349.92, and consider that your yearly subscription is just $99, you more than get your money’s worth!
Overall: Is it worth it?
Overall, joining AP is definitely worth it.
And this isn’t just based on my personal experience. Reading Amazon Prime customer reviews also reaffirms this.
As you can see from the example above, you can save yourself hundreds on shipping fees.
And, shipping fees aside, the titles you get access to also save you so much cash on renting or purchasing movies and TV shows.
Plus, the number of other perks that come along with your membership, like Prime Music, Prime Photo, and Amazon Pantry, make the cost of your monthly or yearly subscription more than worth it.
Amazon Prime hacks & tips
A lot of people wonder if there are any tips and tricks that can be used to get the most out their AP membership.
The main one is to simply take advantage of all of the services and features that Prime has to offer.
If you’re paying to store your photos elsewhere, then stop using that other service and store all of your photos in Prime Photo instead.
If you’re paying for a music streaming service, then stop paying for that and listen to tracks through Prime Music instead.
Essentially, if there’s a service or feature you get through AP that you’re paying for elsewhere, then use the ones on offer with your membership instead. They’re free!
The next big tip we can give you is to only order items that are Prime eligible. Tons of items on Amazon are eligible, so this shouldn’t be too difficult.
An easy way to find items that qualify for free shipping is to simply click on the Prime delivery option. This can be found on the left side of the product results page on Amazon.
When you click this, it filters your search results so that only Prime eligible items are displayed.
And, don’t forget to take advantage of Amazon Video. It offers so many great titles, so it’s an excellent alternative to cable TV, which we all know can be pretty costly!
If you use other streaming platforms, consider canceling them and viewing the titles that Amazon has to offer.
With Prime, Amazon has managed to create a truly unique service that simply isn’t equaled elsewhere.
The features it offers are not only convenient and useful, but they’re also incredibly budget-friendly.
You can literally save hundreds using AP each year.
So, if you use Amazon a lot or are looking for a good streaming service that comes along with other features, then we’d highly recommend it.
As a Prime member myself, I know the decision to get the membership has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made when it comes to online shopping.
Hopefully, this Amazon Prime review has helped you decide whether or not to opt for the membership.