There's more to it than free shipping and streaming.
By Alaina Yee
PCWorldJul 6, 2022 12:00 pm PDT
Image: Rob Schultz / IDG
Amazon Prime built its popularity by offering subscribers faster free shipping, access to streaming movies and TV shows, and exclusive deals (most noticeably during the company’s annual Prime Day dealfest). But Prime membership includes other perks, too: Everything from free ebook offerings to free photo storage and even grocery delivery.
The list of benefits has grown considerably since the program’s launch, so we’ve highlighted the best of the bunch, the ones that make Amazon Prime worth having. Some of these you’ll already know, but the others you’re likely not taking advantage of.
The top Amazon Prime benefits
Free expedited shipping
Amazon Prime’s upgraded shipping is the feature that started it all. These days, you get free two-day delivery on most items, plus free one-day delivery on over 10 million items, with no minimum purchase. In select areas, free same-day delivery on over 3 million items for qualifying orders over $35 is available as well.
Free shipping benefits also extend to several other businesses Amazon owns: Woot, Zappos, and shopbop.
Standard Amazon Prime memberships can be shared with one other adult and up to four teens in a household. All household accounts can take advantage of Prime shipping benefits, Prime Video, Prime Reading, Amazon Photos, First Reads, unlimited listening on Audible Channels, and early access to Lighting Deals.
Child profiles associated with the same household can access digital content that’s been approved by the adult account(s).
You can stream thousands of movies and TV shows through Amazon Prime Video for free, including original content produced by Amazon—some of which is quite good, as our sister site TechHive noted a few years ago. Like Netflix and other streaming sites, the catalog changes often, so if you’re interested in a show or movie, watch it while you can. We’re still sad that Babylon 5 rotated off the list.
Prime members in select areas get free two-hour delivery on Amazon Fresh purchases—available groceries include produce, snacks, and meat.
Speaking of food delivery, Amazon Prime subscribers can now cash in on a free year to GrubHub+, the restaurant delivery service’s premium membership. It normally costs $10 per month by its lonesome, so this is a spectacular benefit, though be aware that you’ll automatically start being charged that monthly fee after your free year is up.
Amazon’s photo storage service lets you skip an Apple or Google subscription for photo and video backup—or set up a secondary backup for your existing backup service. Prime members get unlimited, full-resolution storage for photos and up to 5GB of space for video, with the ability to view your files across all devices. You can also easily share files, just as with rival services.
Amazon’s acquisition of Twitch resulted in further diversification of Amazon Prime perks—if you link your accounts, you can get free games and in-game content monthly, one free Twitch channel subscription to use on your favorite streamer, and special promotions on pre-order video games.
Amazon Music Prime
Not interested in paying for streaming music? No need. Amazon Prime subscribers get access to a couple million songs, plus millions of podcast episodes, as part of their membership. (For access to a wider catalog, you’ll have to shell out for an Amazon Music Unlimited subscription.)
Feed your inner bookworm with the library of titles available through Prime Reading, which gives unlimited access to several thousand ebooks, magazines, comics, and more. While only a handful of books are recognizable bestsellers, you can find interesting reading with some digging. (We managed to find a few Lonely Planet guidebooks to use for vacation planning.)
Interested in reading material that you can keep even if your Prime subscription lapses? Be sure to choose a free Kindle book from the Amazon First Reads collection each month. Prime members get early access to these editors’ picks before the official publication date, with genres spanning suspense, romance, fantasy, historical fiction, children’s books, and more.
In addition to getting two-day delivery on purchases from Amazon Pharmacy, Prime members can get a discount on prescriptions when paying for them without health insurance.
How to sign up for Amazon Prime
If you’re interested in getting in on Amazon Prime’s range of benefits and services, you can first try before you buy—a 30-day trial membership is free.
Afterward, a standard Amazon Prime membership costs $15 per month or $139 per year (plus taxes). Students and people on qualified government assistance qualify for a 50 percent discount on a yearly subscription. First-time Amazon Prime Student subscribers also currently qualify for six free months of service, after which the student rate kicks in.