(Cybertech) – Amazon Prime is a paid membership that, for an annual or monthly fee, gives access to a number of Amazon services and enhancements. It’s now used by millions of people who have signed up to receive a swathe of benefits.
However, it can be a little confusing as to what it actually offers. There are so many small deals and services attached to Prime membership that even if you are a subscriber already, you might not realise what you get.
Here’s a rundown so you can see what Amazon Prime has to offer.
How much does Amazon Prime cost?
In the US, Amazon Prime membership costs $12.99 a month or $119 a year. A Prime Video-only account costs $8.99 a month.
In the UK, Amazon Prime membership costs either £7.99 a month or £79 a year – with the latter making more economic sense at the equivalent of £6.58 a month.
In both regions, you can try Prime membership for free for the first 30-days. If you cancel within that time, it doesn’t cost you a penny. You will be charged after the 30 days are up if you don’t cancel.
What do you get with Amazon Prime membership?
Amazon Prime membership covers several key services, which come at no extra cost.
Great deals on Amazon Prime Day
Amazon Prime Day is a special day of deals exclusive to Prime Members and takes place on 21-22 June 2021. For more details, check out our Amazon Prime Day hub.
Unlimited one-day and same-day delivery
Prime was originally devised to offer free one-day delivery on millions of eligible items across all categories on Amazon’s online store. Order an item tagged as Prime and you will usually get it the next day – even on Sundays.
In some cases, this includes same-day delivery, with postcodes and zipcodes in and around many major cities across the UK and US covered by Amazon’s same-day delivery scheme.
Access to Prime Now means you can have an item delivered for free within two hours as long as the total order is £40 or more. This applies to around 15,000 “best of Amazon” items and even groceries. However, Prime Now appears to be being folded into the main Amazon app rather than being billed as a separate service.
It’s only available in certain locations – these are Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Portsmouth and Sheffield in the UK and a huge swathe of cities in the US including Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Manhattan and Brooklyn, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Portland, San Diego, Seattle and Washington D.C.
Prime Video is the company’s alternative to Netflix. It offers thousands of TV shows, documentaries and movies to stream to multiple devices, without having to pay anything extra.
This includes blockbuster movies and TV series, including exclusives made by Amazon itself – as part of the Amazon Originals line-up – or licensed by the company.
You can also subscribe to Amazon Prime Video on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com for £5.99 or $8.99 a month respectively without any of the other Prime benefits, but considering it only costs £2/$3 a month more for full Prime membership (less if you pay annually) that doesn’t seem the best value for money.
Prime Music and Amazon Music Unlimited
Prime Music offers more than two million music tracks to listen to on-demand, streamed over the internet to multiple devices. It is included with a Prime subscription, but you can also choose to pay extra (£7.99 a month for Prime members in the UK, $7.99 in the US) for an Amazon Music Unlimited pass to expand the music choice to more than 40 million tracks.
Music Unlimited costs £9.99 for non-Prime members. It also offers a 30-day free trial.
You can read over a thousand books, magazines, comics and more with Prime Reading. It works with any of the Kindle apps for multiple devices or on Kindle eBook readers. You just need to find content supported for Prime Reading and read it as part of your overall Prime membership.
Some books with Audible narration are supported too.
Audible original audio series can also be listened to with an American Prime membership. That service is yet to come to the UK.
Amazon Fresh is Amazon’s grocery delivery service, offering thousands of food, drink and household products that can be ordered and in your hands the same day.
It used to cost extra, but is now free for Prime members in both the UK and US. Prime members can check if it is available in your area through the postcode checker here.
Amazon Fresh is also the name of Amazon’s new cashierless grocery stores in the UK. These use the Amazon Go brand in the US. Check out more about these.
After Amazon bought videogame video streaming service Twitch it added some benefits for Prime subscribers. Discounts on games, additional in-game content and ad-free viewing of Twitch streams are on offer. You can also subscribe to your favourite Twitch channel at no extra cost.
In addition to the above, PC gamers get free game downloads each month with Twitch Prime.
As part of your membership, you get unlimited photo storage on Amazon Drive – the retailer’s cloud service. That means you can upload and keep a copy of every photo on your desktop PC, Mac or mobile device. There are apps for both iOS and Android. You can even set them up to automatically upload your pictures as you take them, ensuring you never lose an image, even if you phone is lost or stolen.
Early access to Lightning Deals
All year round, Amazon runs a sales and deals section of its website called Lightning Deals, which offers big bargains on products for a limited time. There is a finite amount of stock on offer for each item and when they have all been bought, the deal is over.
Prime membership means you get a 30-minute heads-up on all deals before non-members can also purchase them, so you get the chance to snaffle them first. This is especially attractive during big sales periods, such as during the build-up to Prime Day and Black Friday this and every other year.
With Prime membership, you can also sign up to Amazon Family, which gives you other benefits, such as 20 per cent off nappies when ordered with Amazon’s Subscribe & Save scheme.
Create an Amazon Household and you can also share your Prime benefits with one other adult. You can also manage digital content and parental controls Amazon Kids+.
Writing by Rik Henderson and Dan Grabham.