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20 best perks you get with an Amazon Prime membership

20 best perks you get with an Amazon Prime membership
© Jonathan Weiss | Dreamstime.com

At this point, I'm sure that you or someone you know is an Amazon Prime member. That's because there are nearly 90 million subscribers in the U.S. Amazing!

When the subscription service began, most people signed up for the free two-day shipping. Think about it, how many times a year do you order products from Amazon? Now add up the amount you would pay to ship each of those items. Most likely, what you would pay for two-day shipping on every order dwarfs the $99 annual fee to be a Prime member.

Saving money on shipping may be the perk that draws you in, but it's certainly not the only one that should catch your attention. There are so many perks that come with Prime, you probably don't even know them all.

That's why we're going to tell you about the top 20 benefits you get with an Amazon Prime membership.

1. Free two-day shipping

This is the granddaddy of all features, the one that made Prime so famous to begin with. When you see the little blue "Prime" logo next to an item, that means you can ship it for free. You can expect your purchases to arrive at your door within 48 hours.

Even now, this advantage may feel like magic. Not every item gets free shipping, so make sure you see that logo, but you'll find tons of items that do.

2. Free same-day delivery

It almost takes you back to the days of newsies and milk trucks. Imagine clicking on an item and then receiving it the same day for no shipping fee.

Granted, this only works in certain ZIP codes – specifically, ZIP codes near an Amazon distribution warehouse – but for people lucky enough to live in these hubs, same-day delivery is an incredible boon. This is a great perk that can really help out when you're in a bind and don't have two-days to wait for an item.

Soon you may be looking to the sky for your packages. Click here to see how Amazon plans to use drones!

3. Prime Video

There are plenty of streaming video services available, but Amazon Video is still one of the greats. It offers original movies and TV series, streaming movies for free, and making heaps of other flicks available for rent or permanent purchase.

Amazon was also one of the first companies to make their content available for download, so you can view your watchlist offline, any time you want. (Bonus: Click here to learn more about and download the Prime Video app.)

4. Prime Music

Much of Amazon's music collection can be heard through its streaming service, almost exactly like Spotify. But Amazon Prime also lets you download more than a million of its songs for free.

It's like Napster used to be, but legal. Just keep in mind, you will need to download the free Amazon Music app in order to download songs, and it's only available for mobile devices. If you want to put songs on your regular desktop or laptop, you'll have to stream songs or buy them for offline playback.

There are nearly 2 million songs available to stream and they are ad-free and on-demand with Amazon Music Unlimited, which you can get at a discounted rate with your Prime membership. For non-Prime members, it costs $9.99 per month, but as a Prime member, you get it for $7.99 per month.

Even better, you can listen through your Alexa-connected smart speaker. Simply ask Alexa to play specific songs, albums, playlists or artist channels. It's super convenient!

5. Prime Photos

After snapping your way through multiple vacations and family functions, you've got so many photos, you don't even know what to do with them. Well, Prime Photos is just the place for them.

Amazon provides unlimited photo storage for free with your Prime membership. You can even use its first-rate search features to retrieve just the right portrait. Your photos are organized automatically in several ways. Amazon's powerful search helps you find specific photos by people, places, or things.

You're able to view your photos anywhere. Back up and manage your photos on your desktop, tablet, and phone with free apps for Mac, PC, iOS and Android.

6. Prime Now

Wait, so receiving an item the same day isn't quick enough? You need it within two hours? Amazon can do that, presuming you live in the right area. Only a fraction of Amazon's stock is available on Prime Now, but that still amounts to more than 10,000 individual items.

Choose from three ultra-fast delivery options for orders fulfilled by Amazon Prime Now. Options include a two-hour window, one-hour window, or delivery within an hour. Delivery within an hour and one-hour delivery windows are available in most ZIP codes serviced by Amazon Prime Now.

Shop for groceries, gifts, goodies and more from your favorite local stores. You can also get deliveries from your favorite restaurants.

7. Free release date delivery

This is one of those features that many Prime members have never heard of: Suppose you're waiting for a hardcover book from one of your favorite authors.

You can't wait for the book to get released, so you can finally tear into it. Well, now you don't have to. The second that book is available, it'll be delivered to you. Many other items are also available the moment they hit shelves.

8. Prime Pantry

Basically, it's like shopping at your local grocery store without the carts, cashiers, or car. You can have a giant bundle of food and household items delivered to your house for a flat rate of $4.99 per month with unlimited delivery. (Note: all orders under $40 will incur a $7.99 delivery fee.)

Prime Pantry offers low priced products and exclusive savings, such as deals and coupons. With Amazon's wide selection you can choose between thousands of items available, including snacks, breakfast foods, beverages, beauty and personal care items, and household products and save a trip to the store.

That's already pretty amazing, but you also don't have to live in any particular ZIP code. The only bummer is for people in Alaska and Hawaii, where the service is not available.

9. Amazon Elements

What is Amazon Elements? This is where you find basic over-the-counter health items, like calcium pills and baby wipes. If you're into wellness but don't want to pay an arm and a leg, Prime grants you access to the exclusive Amazon Elements storefront.

Each Amazon Elements product you purchase includes a unique code on its packaging that provides deeper information about the product itself. From Amazon's quality reports to product origins and ingredients, every bit of vital information is available from your Amazon app.

10. Amazon Dash

What if there was a button you could push in the laundry room, and Amazon would immediately send you a new bottle of Tide? This is almost exactly what Amazon's Dash program is.

Amazon Dash Button makes the process of ordering much faster, by letting you press these buttons. At the press of a few Dash Buttons, you can collect a whole cartload of domestic products in seconds.

With a simple press of a Dash Button, Prime Members can order their favorite products. Dash Button is free after first press; buy it for $4.99 and receive a $4.99 credit on your first order placed through the button.

11. Prime Reading

Prime Reading expands your reading palate even more, by giving you access to magazines and other periodicals. Borrow a wide range of literature for a set amount of time and read them on your Kindle. Books, magazines, audio-books and more are available for free with your Prime membership.

Don't have a Kindle? No sweat. You can download the Kindle app on almost any mobile device for free.

12. Audible Channels for Prime

Audiobook fans were shocked when Audible, their go-to service, released Audible Channels, a rapidly growing catalog of free audiobooks. This streaming service offers everything from short fiction to classics to original audio dramas. You could spend all day jumping from one literary tidbit to another, all for free.

Original audio series, plus playlists handcrafted for every interest. Amazon Prime members listen for free - just download the Audible app and start listening.

13. Prime Video Channels

Maybe you cut the cord on cable, but you're not quite satisfied with Netflix or Hulu. That's why Amazon came up with Prime Video Channels, which offers you easy access to cable networks like HBO, Showtime and Starz.

Use Prime Video Channels to keep up with the latest seasons of "Homeland" and "Game of Thrones." As a Prime member, you can add this service for $4.99 - $14.99 per month, depending on the channels you select.

14. Amazon FreeTime Unlimited

This costs extra, but for families with some time to kill, FreeTime is a godsend. For an extra $2.99 per month, you'll find a treasure trove of literature, educational games and TV series geared specifically toward children.

If you're already fond of online programs like ABC Mouse, you may find FreeTime enriching and fun. Plus, like the name says, it's pretty much unlimited.

15. Membership sharing

The concept of Amazon Household makes perfect sense, no matter what your relationship with your cohabitant is: You can merge your accounts into a single Prime membership.

Household allows you to connect and share Amazon benefits with the whole family. Two adults and up to four teens and four child profiles may link in a Household.

With Household, you share free Prime Delivery, streaming access to Prime Video, Prime Photos and album sharing, free books with Amazon First Reads, unlimited listening on Audible Channels and more.

16. Amazon First Reads

Amazon First Reads lets you see books before anyone else can nab a copy. Get early access to editors' picks.

Each month, the Amazon First Reads editors get together and decide on six titles to make available; then you can download one of those books for free. (Note: You can purchase hardcover editions of these selections for $9.99 or less.) These lists depend on the editors' tastes, but if you have a diversely read palate, you'll probably like the surprise.

17. Prime Early Access

Are you feeling really competitive? Are you worried that your most coveted items will sell out before you have a chance to order them? Early Access lets you order things 30 minutes before they are released to the general public.

In Amazon parlance, these are called "Lightning Deals," and you get the inside scoop. Think of it as sneaking into a shopping mall on Black Friday a half-hour before the doors open, minus getting arrested or trespassing.

18. Amazon Prime Store Card

So the Amazon Prime Store Card is exciting, but it's important to understand what it is: It's a credit card that gives you a 5 percent refund for eligible Prime members. This is remitted every month in the form of a statement credit.

Keep in mind that it applies to only approved items, but it's still a good deal, assuming you shop a lot on Amazon and keep an eye on items that receive the credit. If that doesn't float your boat, you can exchange the credit for promotional financing offers, which might benefit you for expensive dream-purchases.

19. Twitch Prime

Gamers rejoice! Your kids are going to love this one.

Prime grants you ad-free viewing on Twitch.tv, Amazon's gaming-focused streaming video site. You can also get discounts on games and exclusive pre-orders.

20. Shopping with Alexa

"Alexa, order some deodorant!" We've saved the best for last.

Owners of an Alexa-enabled smart speaker, like the Amazon Echo, can shop Amazon without even using their hands. Available only to Prime members, this feature is like dictating a list to a robot assistant and then sending her off on a shopping trip, just like a "Jetsons" episode. Technology like this is putting the "primo" in Prime.

(Psst! If you don't have an Echo, click the link below to order one today. You'll be glad that you did.)


WHAT'S BETTER, AMAZON PRIME VIDEO OR NETFLIX?

Choosing the right streaming service for you and your family can be challenging. Each service has its own strengths and weaknesses, not to mention the exclusive movies and shows you can't find anywhere else, that it takes a bit of research to nail down the best streaming service for you.

In this tip, we break down and compare the top two destinations for online video streaming, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, and pick out a winner!

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