Access to Prime Day is one of the most notable benefits of Amazon’s loyalty program. And since Prime Big Deal Days, the retailer's second mega sale of the year, is coming up on Oct. 10 and 11, you might be thinking about signing up for Amazon Prime. In fact, those who have not been Prime members in the last 12 months can get 30 days of free access. If you want to try it out before committing, signing up around Prime Big Deal Days lets you to experience the sale for yourself.
The perks of a Prime membership extend far beyond exclusive savings events. You get fast, free shipping, a free Grubhub+ membership, Whole Foods grocery delivery and more. All of these benefits incentivize members to renew yearly, as well as encourage new sign-ups.
To help you decide whether an Amazon Prime subscription is worth it — and so you can easily compare it to a Walmart Plus and Target Circle membership — we broke down everything you need to know about what's included below. Amazon also offers loyalty programs in the form of a store credit card and an Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card — here’s what to know before signing up for Amazon’s credit card from Select’s money experts.
What is Amazon Prime?
Amazon Prime is Amazon's paid loyalty program, which originally launched in 2005. It's available in various countries and gives members access to perks across shopping, streaming, entertainment and more.
How much does an Amazon Prime membership cost?
A Prime membership costs $15 a month, or you can pay $139 annually. The yearly Prime membership includes a 30-day free trial for new members.
Amazon also offers two discounted Prime memberships: Prime Student and an option for those who qualify for certain types of government assistance programs.
The Prime Student membership costs $69 a year. It typically comes with exclusive offers like discounts on Amazon Music Unlimited and textbooks. A free monthly Grubhub+ Student membership with unlimited delivery and up to 10% off flights and hotels through StudentUniverse is also included. Students can get a six-month free trial before they have to start paying for their Prime membership. To purchase a student membership, you’ll need a valid .edu email address.
For those who qualify for certain types of government assistance programs, like EBT and Medicaid, Amazon offers a discounted Prime membership that’s about half the price of a standard one. The discounted option is $7 a month and you have to verify your qualification every 12 months. Members get the same benefits as those who pay the standard Prime membership rate. If you’re currently paying full price for a Prime account but qualify for the discounted rate, you can apply online by selecting a verification method. Once approved, your membership automatically switches over. Amazon also accepts SNAP EBT for eligible groceries and free shipping options are available.
How many people can share a Prime membership?
Multiple members of a family can share Prime benefits like Prime shipping, video, photos and more through Amazon Household, which allows for up to 10 memberships:
- Two adults (18 or older), each with their own Amazon account
- Four teens (ages 13 to 17), each with their own Amazon login — this is different from an adult account since adults can share digital content with teens and set viewing restrictions
- Four children (while children can’t shop on Amazon, adults can share content like eBooks, apps, and games with them)
What are the benefits of an Amazon Prime membership?
An Amazon Prime membership includes various perks, including free delivery options and streaming, shopping and reading benefits. Prime members can also share their Prime membership with other members of their family. Below, we listed Prime membership benefits you should know about.
Fast delivery and shipping
Free one-day shipping: A variety of items are eligible for next-day delivery with no minimum purchase for Prime members (cutoff time for eligible orders varies by zip code). When you’re shopping, filter items by “Get it tomorrow” to see which ones you can receive by 9 p.m. the next day.
Free two-day shipping: This is available to Prime members who live in the contiguous U.S.
Free same-day delivery: In select cities and towns, Prime members can shop for items eligible for delivery on the same day they were ordered. Same-day delivery is available without a Prime membership for up to $10 per order for eligible items. Prime members get same-day delivery for free on qualifying orders over $25, and they can pay a delivery fee of up to $3 per order for those under $25.
Free release-date delivery: Prime members can have eligible pre-order items delivered on their release date for free.
Free no-rush shipping: Members who select no-rush shipping — which delays delivery on orders — can earn rewards to use on future purchases.
Amazon Day delivery: This option allows you to order items throughout the week and select up to two days to get everything delivered in fewer boxes. Prime members who live in certain zip codes can also get eligible items delivered inside their garage for free with a myQ smart garage.
Buy with Prime
Buy with Prime is a service that allows Prime members to order items through participating retailers’ websites using the payment and shipping information stored on their Amazon accounts. The service also extends the free and fast delivery options members get through Amazon — Prime members will see the Prime logo on eligible products in merchants’ online stores, which signals that the item is available for free delivery (sometimes even next-day delivery) with free returns.
You can learn what brands participate in Buy with Prime on Amazon's website and find exclusive discounts available through the program, like early October Prime Day deals. Keep in mind that Prime members also get free shipping for items on Shopbop and free upgraded shipping at Zappos.
Deals and discounts
In addition to Prime Day itself, Prime members are eligible for Prime Early Access, which gives them 30-minute early access to Lightning Deals on Amazon that typically last four to six hours. Beyond Prime Day deals, members get access to deals and discounts through Subscribe & Save, and 15% off eligible products from baby registries.
Amazon bought the grocery store chain Whole Foods Market in 2017, leading to exclusive savings both in stores and online for Prime members. Eligible Prime members with the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card get 5% back on purchases at Whole Foods — other credit cards incentivize via deals with Amazon and its affiliates, too.
Delivery from Whole Foods Market includes a $10 service fee, and additional rush fees apply on one-hour delivery orders. Delivery from Amazon Fresh comes with a service fee for orders under $150 (exact fee varies based on the total cost of the order). Prime members get free delivery on Amazon Fresh orders that cost $150 or more, and free grocery pickup on orders over $35. In select cities, you can order food and household items and receive them within two hours, or on another date and time you choose.
Amazon partners with Grubhub to offer Prime members one year of Grubhub+ for free, allowing them to order food from the service without paying a delivery fee (as long as orders met a minimum of $12). Existing Grubhub+ members are also eligible for this offer, according to Amazon. Once the free period is up, Prime members will automatically be charged the $10 monthly fee for Grubhub+ until they cancel.
Streaming and entertainment
Prime Video: Prime Video offers unlimited streaming of movies and TV episodes for Prime members. It’s available for non-Prime members as a standalone streaming service for $9 a month.
Amazon Channels: Prime members can watch shows and movies from channels like Showtime and STARZ through their Prime membership for $5 to $15 a month each without a cable subscription or additional apps.
Prime Music: Prime Music offers members access to over two million unlimited, ad-free songs, as well as playlists and stations.
Amazon Music Unlimited: Prime members can get discounted Amazon Music Unlimited monthly plans, and they have access to exclusive annual plans.
Prime Gaming: Prime members have access to free games, in-game content and a free channel subscription on Twitch.tv every month. Additionally, Prime members can play a rotating selection of games for free through a dedicated channel on Luna, Amazon’s cloud gaming service. Anyone in the U.S. can use Luna, but Prime members get exclusive benefits through the platform.
Prime Reading: Prime members have access to over a thousand books, magazines and more, which they can download onto their Kindle or Fire tablet, as well as read through the Kindle app. Prime Reading includes books with Audible narration, too. Other reading perks include Amazon First Reads, which gives members early access to a new book for free every month.
Other Prime membership benefits
Amazon Photos: A Prime membership gives you unlimited full-resolution photo storage and 5GB of video storage on Amazon Drive for you and the members of your Family Vault.
Audible Premium Plus: Benefits include unlimited access to thousands of audiobooks, podcasts and Amazon originals, and you can keep one premium title of your choosing each month.
Prime Try Before You Buy: Get seven days to try on eligible clothing and shoes at home and only get charged for the items you keep. Additionally, Prime members in select regions can pay an additional monthly membership fee to receive a monthly styling service.
Amazon Elements: You have access to the retailer's exclusive line of everyday essentials, ranging from vitamins to baby wipes.
Amazon Pharmacy: Get free two-day delivery and take advantage of savings offers when you fulfill subscriptions with Amazon Pharmacy.
Why trust Select?
Zoe Malin is an associate updates editor at Select who has reported about Amazon since 2020. She wrote Select's history of Amazon Prime Day, as well as a variety of Amazon Prime Day sales articles. For this piece, Malin researched Amazon's Prime membership offerings and referenced Select's other Amazon coverage.