Millions of people use Amazon every day, as the site is perfect for finding pretty much anything you could possibly need. Of course, it didn't start out that way, as at first Amazon was just an online bookstore.
But over the years it has turned into so much more, with Amazon now being one of the most powerful and influential tech companies on the planet.
It has reached such lofty heights in large part because of continually adding features, be it music, video or a host of other things we enjoy.
One of the most well-liked things Amazon introduced to us was Prime. While it is free to use Amazon, people who subscribe to Prime receive many benefits, including access to different Amazon content as well as faster deliveries.
That's not all you get, though. If you are not a Prime member, you'll be interested to know what you're missing out on. And if you are, there's a good chance you don't know about everything you get with the subscription.
1. Great discounts at Whole Foods
Amazon bought Whole Foods for $13.7 billion in 2017, looking to the struggling store as a way to get further into the grocery game. It did not take long for the tech company to make its mark on the store as it slashed prices on many products.
Prime members get even more benefits, such as an extra 10 percent off of items with yellow sale signs as well as 2-hour delivery from Whole Foods stores in select cities, free grocery pickup at certain locations and 5 percent back on Whole Foods purchases with an Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card. This can save you money on your food bill and save you time when it comes to getting your groceries.
2. Thousands of movies without Wi-Fi
One of the nice things about Prime is access to Amazon Video, which is a collection of shows and movies that can be streamed to your devices. But did you know you can watch them all even if you don't have access to a Wi-Fi network?
Selected Prime Video titles are available to be downloaded to compatible mobile devices, which include Fire tablets, Fire phones, Android phones and tablets, and iOS devices.
If you are using a compatible device, make sure you are connected to a Wi-Fi or wireless network, find the Prime title you want to download and open the video details. After that, tap on "Download" to start the process. Just keep in mind this can use up data on your cellular plan, so make sure you have enough to spare.
Note that for TV shows, you will want to select the episode you want to download and then look for the specific download icon, which will be a down arrow. Also, the amount of time you will have to be able to watch a downloaded title -- movie or show -- offline will vary, though a notification will typically display on-screen when the viewing period is almost over.
3. Money-back with Reload
Prime subscribers can take advantage of Prime Reload, in which members can get 2 percent back on purchases when they first load funds into their Amazon balance using a debit card that is attached to a checking account.
In other words, you supply the money for your own Amazon gift card, which you then use to purchase items. For example, you could load $500 into an Amazon gift card using the Reload program and then receive a gift card that's actually worth $510. There are some limitations to Reload. You must load at least $100 into your gift card balance and you can't go over $2,000 for a single reload amount.
Reload requires you to jump through some minor hoops to earn the rewards, but it can work out well for customers who already use a debit card for their purchases, and for those who are heavy Amazon shoppers looking to net some bonus cash.
4. Free two-hour grocery delivery in dozens of cities
Amazon has been finding ways to turn the Whole Foods natural-foods grocery chain into a key link in Amazon's offerings. One of the most tantalizing perks for customers is free two-hour grocery delivery, which is available in an ever-growing list of cities through Amazon's Prime Now service.
The delivery is free is you're content with a two-hour delivery window at a time suggested by Amazon. If you need your groceries faster, you can opt to pay a fee. Amazon will also automatically calculate a suggested tip for your courier, which is optional.
Are you eligible for this Prime perk? You can check your zip code through Prime Now. The list of cities offering Whole Foods delivery includes Annapolis, Ann Arbor, Cleveland, Dallas/Fort Worth, Detroit, Charlotte, Jacksonville, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Louisville, Madison, Memphis, Milwaukee, Nashville, New Orleans, New York City, North and Central New Jersey, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Orlando, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa, Tucson, and Tulsa.
Amazon has been expanding the Whole Foods delivery service at a rapid pace, so if your city is not yet on the list, it may be soon.
5. Free editor's choice book every month
Warm up your Kindle; you've got some free reading to do. The Amazon Prime Reading First Reads benefit is your ticket to check out a new book. Prime Reading is Amazon's version of an online library stocked with a selection of books and magazines. You can access Prime Reading through a Kindle e-reader or the Kindle app.
First Reads is a selection of six editor's choice books. Prime members can pick one to read free each month. Chances are good you'll find an option that will draw your interest. A recent list included a thriller, a gothic murder story, a historical novel, a true-crime book, a young-adult book, and a cute kid's book about a duck.
6. Product samples and discounts
A lot of the free Prime perks aren't things you can hold in your hand. If you want something tangible to show for your membership, then check out Amazon's Sample Box program. You choose from a selection of theme boxes and receive a credit for future purchases of eligible items related to that box.
For example, Amazon has offered a luxury skin care box stocked with perfume, exfoliating gel, moisturizer, and skin serum samples for $19.99. You get to try out everything included in the box and also receive a $19.99 credit towards luxury beauty products sold by Amazon. So, if you like something in the box, you can use your credit towards a full-size version of the product or other similar items in that category.
Sample boxes aren't just for beauty supplies; Amazon often offers snack food, pet food and nutrition and wellness themed boxes as well. Click or tap here to learn even more about Amazon's Sample Boxes.
7. Deliveries to your car
Package theft from porches is a growing problem as opportunistic thieves snatch up Amazon customers' deliveries. The retailer is taking a creative new approach to dealing with the issue by offering a service called Amazon Key In-Car Delivery. This ties in with the Amazon Key app that lets you lock and unlock the front door of your home with a compatible smart lock while allowing Amazon delivery people access to your house to leave packages in a secure location.
In-Car Delivery works with supported models of vehicles, including 2015 or newer vehicles from Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and Volvo that have an active connected car service plan like OnStar. You can set up the in-car option through the Amazon Key app. Amazon delivery agents will then drop off your packages in your car, though it must be parked at an accessible, ground-level location.
Besides giving you a secure delivery option, the in-car service also lets you receive packages while you're at work so you don't miss deliveries or leave them vulnerable to porch pirates. Amazon Key delivery services aren't available in all locations yet, but you can check if you and your car are eligible through the Key site.
8. Try before you buy clothes
While more and more shopping has moved online, shopping for clothes has remained challenging since you have to guess about whether a fit or style will work for you. Amazons Prime Wardrobe is focused on making clothes shopping much easier by letting you try before you buy. This service lets you use your own home as a dressing room.
Prime Wardrobe works by you filling a box with three or more items of eligible clothing, shoes, or accessories, up to a maximum of eight. Amazon ships you the box and you get a week to try on the clothes at your leisure. You can then keep the pieces you like, pay for them, and ship the rest back to Amazon using a prepaid label at no additional cost.
Prime Wardrobe is your chance to try different sizes and looks with no regrets or return shipping costs.
9. Free shipping at other sites, too
One of Amazon Prime's siren calls has always been the free shipping, but it's not restricted to just Amazon.com. Amazon acquired popular deal-of-the-day site Woot in 2010. Prime's free standard shipping extends to Woot purchases.
Fashionistas will also be happy to learn the clothes-focused Amazon subsidiary Shopbop is part of the free Prime shipping family, and you get free returns, too. You can get your designer brand fix and free Amazon shipping through East Dane, which is similar to Shopbop, but focused on men's fashion. Between Woot, ShopBop and East Dane, your online shopping horizons with bonus shipping perks have just expanded.
10. Free magazines, podcasts, and audiobooks
Whether you're looking to entertain or inform yourself, you can find Prime perks that will satisfy you. Here's how to get free reading and listening material through your Amazon membership.
Magazines: Amazon Prime Reading is your go-to source for free access to issues of popular magazines, including Vogue, Bon Appetit, Popular Mechanics, Esquire, and Better Homes & Gardens. Just start at the Prime Reading page to browse the magazines that are included with your membership. Click on the magazine you're interested in and choose "Borrow this issue for free" to have it delivered to your Kindle, Fire tablet, or Kindle app.
Podcasts and audiobooks: Audible is a division of Amazon that's best known for providing audiobooks, but Amazon also uses it to deliver a service called Audible Channels. Amazon doesn't specifically refer to Channels' offerings as "podcasts," but that's essentially what they are.
You will need to download the Audible app to get started with Channels. Open the app, tap on the menu and choose Channels for Prime. Here, you can choose from a variety of short-form audio programs that explore sketch comedy, music culture, world history, and even news snippets from The New York Times.
Channels also gives you access to a small selection of free Prime-exclusive audiobooks. From the main Channels tab, just scroll down and tap on Audiobook Collections to check out the options, which range from histories to mysteries.
Bonus: Save money with Amazon Family
Prime parents with newborns have a lot of ongoing expenses, but the Amazon Family program can give you a break on the cost of diapers and baby food. To earn a 20-percent discount, you will need to use Amazon's Subscribe & Save program and set up subscriptions for five or more eligible baby products to be delivered on the same recurring day to the same address. Just go to the Amazon Family page to get started.
You may have started with Amazon Prime thanks to the lure of free shipping, but the many perks that come with the program can sweeten the deal and make the annual membership expense very worthwhile.