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How to get the best deals on Amazon Prime Day

Get your wallets out. Then empty them.


AJ Dellinger


Posted on Jul 15, 2015   Updated on May 28, 2021, 8:51 am CDT

If you’re an online-shopping addict, today, Amazon Prime Day, is like Christmas in July. Amazon is celebrating ten years of its Prime membership service, which means deals galore all day long.

With Amazon promising “more deals than Black Friday,” it’s time to log into your Amazon Prime account, pull out your credit card, and furiously add items to your cart.

Here’s a quick guide to making the most of this retail-therapy day.

Sign up for Prime

While anyone with some cash to burn can shop on, not everyone can partake in Prime Day. It’s an event reserved for Amazon Prime subscribers.

For a flat annual fee, Prime members receive two-day shipping with no additional charge on millions of items on Amazon, regardless of the size or standard shipping cost of that item. Whether it’s a toothbrush or a big-screen TV, you’ll get it in 48 hours. Amazon has also begun rolling out free one-day and same-day shipping on select products. 

Prime also carries of wealth of additional benefits that are often lost in the mix. Prime members have unlimited access to Amazon Instant Video, the company’s streaming video service, which features tons of popular TV shows and movies as well as exclusive content produced just for the platform. Similarly, subscribers can use Amazon Prime Music, an on-demand streaming service similar to Spotify

If that’s enough to convince you to buy in to the service, you can purchase a one-year membership for $99

If you’re not sold but want to get in on the Prime Day action, you can enjoy all the sweet savings with none of the commitment by signing up for a free 30-day trial. You’ll still get access to all of the Prime Day deals—plus another 29 days of the benefits.

Learn to love the Lightning Deal

The best deals on Amazon, both on a day-to-day basis and on the very special Prime Day, come in the form of the Lightning Deal. This is Amazon’s timed, first-come-first-serve sales process.

When items become Lightning Deals, they’re usually offered at a much bigger discount than in a standard sale. The offer only lasts for a short period of time, and quantities are limited. The deal ends when either the clock or the stock reaches zero, so you have to have a quick trigger finger for these sales.

If you miss the boat, you can have a second crack at it by getting on a waiting list. This puts you at the front of the line should more of the product be made available.

Pick and choose your spots with these offers; there are a lot of oddities and clearance-rack goods that pop up, but you’ll also find huge discounts on popular products. Of course, those ones will clear out the fastest.

Best Deals

Amazon will be rolling out an incredible number of deals over the course of Prime Day, but it’s remained fairly quiet about exactly what people will find. The company claims that it will offer steep price cuts on “electronics, toys, video games, movies, clothing, patio, lawn and garden, sports and outdoor items,” among other products. 

While the sales will likely come and go at a breakneck pace, Amazon’s press release offers a brief preview of what people will find:

  • Fire TV Stick, fastest selling Amazon device of all time, $15 off
  • Kindle, $30 off
  • Fire HD 7, $60 off
  • Fire HD 7 Kids Edition, $60 off
  • 32-inch LED TV, $75
  • 40-inch 1080p LED TV, $115
  • Brand-name 32-inch Smart HDTV, under $200
  • 50-inch 4K TV bundle, under $1000
  • Bose headphones at the lowest price ever on Amazon
  • Chromebook laptop, only $199
  • Over 50% off two Nikon COOLPIX cameras
  • Highly rated binoculars, under $120
  • Two security camera-kits, $279.99
  • iRobot Roomba Pet Vacuum Cleaning Robot, under $300
  • Husqvarna mower, under $300
  • 40 lightning deals on DVDs up to 75% off
  • Up to 50% off any of the Harry Potter books
  • Save more than 70% on the Divergent Series Complete Box Set of books
  • Save up to 70% on select kitchen products from top brands like Cuisinart, KitchenAid, Foodsaver and Thermos
  • Save up to 50% on select tools for the DIY auto enthusiast
  • Connected Car and Scan Tool products starting at 60% off
  • Road-trip-ready automotive products starting at 50% off
  • Save more than 50% on Drinkwell Platinum Pet Fountain
  • 30% off select clothing, shoes, jewelry, watches & more
  • 60% off Amazon Elements Baby Wipes with code ELEMENTS60
  • Free luxury beauty sample box with $50 purchase of luxury beauty products, with promo code LUXSAMPLES
  • Buy an Gift Card multipack, get $10 in promotional credit
  • Get 25% bonus Amazon Coins when you buy 5,000 or 10,000 Amazon Coins
  • Prime Now will also offer deals in the six cities where the service is offered

Other offers to watch for

Amazon is intent on proving that Prime is more than just about sales and shipping benefits, and it has included some additional opportunities to show users everything they get from the service. It’s launching some contests to encourage people to poke around in other parts of Prime. 

The company will give one lucky subscriber the chance to attend the premiere event of Transparent season two. The winner and a guest will travel to Los Angeles to walk the red carpet with the stars of the hit streaming show, and they’ll enjoy some extra spending cash from Amazon. You can enter the Red Carpet Experience contest during Prime Day.

Users will also be prompted to try out Amazon Prime Music with a Listen to Win contest. Anyone who streams a song on the service during Prime Day will be entered to win up to $25,000 in Amazon gift cards. You can read the rules for the contest—which are ridiculous and include a method of entry that doesn’t require a Prime membership but does require sending a three-by-five postcard in the mail—on the Listen to Win page.

Amazon is also making up to $10,000 in Amazon gift cards available to participants in the #PrimeLiving photo contest, which requires nothing more than snapping a picture and using the hashtag #PrimeLiving. Winners will be chosen from around the world and will also be given the option to have their photo become a screensaver on Amazon Fire TV devices, ensuring almost no one will ever see it.

Lastly, you’ll be able to take a quiz to discover what kind of Prime member you are. Doing so will enter you for a chance to win a $2,000 Amazon gift card. If you take the quiz, try to figure how to get the result “the kind of Prime member who has $2,000.” 

Photo via  Daniel E Lee/Flickr (CC BY ND 2.0)

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*First Published: Jul 15, 2015, 8:21 am CDT