Since its inception back in 2005, Amazon’s premium membership plan, Amazon Prime, has seen major improvements. The membership base has steadily grown despite the cost hiking from $79 to $99 and now to $119. Undoubtedly, Prime is teeming with irresistible offers and perks, including crazy deals on Prime Day. But, is it really worth spending $119 a year on top of what you’ll spend purchasing the products? Here’s everything you need to know about Amazon Prime.
How Does Amazon Prime Work?
First things first, if you are not a member already, you must be wondering what the Amazon Prime service has in store for its members. Well, once you register for the service at an annual fee of $119, you open a floodgate of perks and discounts. First off, paying the fee in lump sum saves you a few dollars since you pay just $9.92 a month compared to the month-by-month fee of $12.99. If you're a student enrolled in at least one course at a college in Puerto Rico or the United States, you get a $59 annual Amazon Prime Student account (the month-by-month will cost $6.49 and sums up to $77.88). Amazon Prime members can also have their packages delivered to their cars on condition that it’s a Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, Volvo or GMC and as long as they were made in 2015 or later. The cars must have an active OnStar or Volvo On Call account to qualify for the service. According to Amazon, this service reduces the theft of packages. With that out of the way, the big question remains, is Amazon Prime worth $119 in 2020? Let's take a closer look.
Amazon Prime Shipping Benefits
Perhaps one of the most enticing perks that Prime membership offers is the free shipping guarantee. As a member, you qualify for free two-day shipping and free same-day delivery on select cities. The free shipping covers eligible items, which are well over one million. If you want overnight shipping, you can pay as little as $2.99 per item or even free depending on qualifying orders. Usually, standard shipping costs a minimum of $5.99 per shipment and you have to patiently wait for a week or so to get your products. If you want your items posthaste, you can pay for the two-day shipping, which costs $8.98 or the one-day shipping that costs $9.98. However, note that you normally get free shipping if you order more than $25 worth of products. But, consider this; if you ship throughout the year, you don’t want to waste time and gas, and you definitely want to avoid impulse buying at the stores, then Prime shipping is just what you want. Plus, you save a lot of money in the end.
Another great service is Prime Now, which allows members to get items delivered in as little as one hour at a small fee. Deliveries within two hours are free of charge. Although the service is only available on select items and in select cities, including Virginia Beach, Dallas, and Boston, its expansion is spreading like bushfire. Recently, Amazon extended its service to cover food and products purchased at Whole Foods.
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
Cardholders get a five percent discount on purchases made on Amazon and at Whole Foods. If you are not a Prime member, you get a three percent discount. Other benefits that cardholders get include a two percent discount at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores. Likewise, you get one percent back for any other purchases. The card does not attract annual fees or foreign transaction fees if you're traveling. If you make frequent purchases as a Prime member, you can save a lot of money in a year.
Free Video Streaming
As a Prime member, you get instant access to countless movies and TV shows, including original Amazon original series like Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, The Man in the High Castle and the Golden Globe-winning show, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. You can stream on your tablet, smartphone, laptop or Fire TV. Considering how much you’d pay per month for streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and other competitors, Amazon Prime is truly a great companion.
Free Music Streaming
Apart from free movies and TV streaming, you also get free music streaming that gives you unlimited access to more than a million songs and thousands of radio stations and playlists. And the best part? It's ad-free.
Amazon Lightning Deals
With Amazon Prime, you get early access (30 minutes’ head start before everyone else) to deeply discounted high-tech and fashion items, which are usually short-term. This allows you to purchase your dream products before they are released to the general consumers. Other amazing perks, that you can expect with the Amazon Prime membership include:
- Membership sharing – if you're two adults living in the same household, the Amazon Household account allows you to share certain Amazon Prime perks.
- Kindle Owner’s Lending Library – where members get access to over 80,000 e-book titles and you can borrow one per month with no return date.
- Prime Photos – for unlimited secure photo storage in Amazon Cloud Drive.
- Amazon Family – you get a 20 percent discount on diaper subscriptions through the site’s “Subscribe and Save” service. You also get a 15 percent discount on eligible items from your baby registry.
- In addition to that, you get 20 percent off on prerelease video games.
To Consider Before Your Purchase
If you combine all the benefits that come with Amazon Prime membership, you are guaranteed to save a lot of cash, especially if you shop regularly. The initial $119 fee is easily recoverable with the free shipping services. On the downside, the free services may lure you to spend more than you had anticipated. That said, Amazon Prime Membership is not for everyone. If you don’t shop often, you prefer Netflix over Amazon, or you aren’t online regularly to check out new offers, you won't see the value of being a Prime member.
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