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Photo via Christian Bertrand/Shutterstock (Licensed)
Amazon Prime can be your one-stop shop, but is it worth the cost?
Amazon has quickly morphed into the internet’s one-stop shop. Today, the online giant offers everything from books, electronics, and homeware to music-streaming services and fresh, on-demand food. The hook for an Amazon Prime membership is typically fast delivery times. But with so many Amazon services available, which ones are right for you? Is an annual $99 membership fee really worth it?
If you’re stuck, here’s a breakdown of Amazon Prime to help you decide if a yearly subscription is worth the investment.
Is Amazon Prime worth it?
Amazon Prime delivery speed
Amazon’s delivery speed is likely the main reason Amazon Prime is worth the cost of membership. Prime offers free two-day shipping for a majority of their products, as well as free same-day and one-day delivery in participating cities across the U.S. If you consider how much you spend on two-day shipping, especially for heavier items, it wouldn’t take long for you to recoup your annual investment.
If you literally cannot wait for your package to arrive at your doorstep, Prime also offers a two-hour delivery option, Prime Now, which can be applied while shopping for “daily essentials” and groceries.
Prime Now access
Prime Now offers members the opportunity to shop for household essentials from their Amazon store or local grocery store in the area. The package will arrive at your doorstep within two hours. If you don’t have the time to cook, members can also use Prime Now as a restaurant delivery service (similar to Seamless or UberEats) from local, participating restaurants in their area.
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Amazon Prime early access
Prime Early Access offers bargain shoppers the chance to get their hands on certain products across the online store 30 minutes before anyone else. Prime members receive early access to daily Lightning Deals that feature deep price cuts to most-wanted products in tech, home goods, and fashion. Keep in mind that deals last until supplies run out, so it’s best to be on your guard if you want to make the most of your membership.
Amazon Prime music streaming
If you’re not married to Spotify or Apple Music, Prime Music is free for all Prime members and works just like other music streaming services. Prime Music is ad-free and lets users customize their own playlists and stream on-demand. Given that Spotify Premium costs $9.99 per month, you’d actually save money annually by just using Amazon Prime, and you’d be getting all of the other benefits that come with it.
If you own an Amazon Alexa, Prime Music will automatically sync for music listening purposes. Alexa can also easily connect to your Spotify account.
Amazon Prime video streaming
Prime Video offers on-demand, award-winning movies like Manchester by the Sea, Emmy-nominated Amazon originals like Transparent, plus an extensive collection of popular TV shows. Some flicks are available to rent or purchase, but there’s also a selection of movies and shows that are included with the membership. Here’s our rundown of the best movies on Amazon, the best documentaries on Prime, and our regularly updated list of what’s new on Amazon (and what’s leaving).
Prime members can listen to Audible audiobooks and podcasts for free through the Audible app.
Twitch Prime is a nice perk for serious gamers or anyone interested in copping the newest gadgets on the market for a good deal. By linking their Amazon account to Twitch, Prime members get a regularly updated selection of free digital games, access to early releases, and discounts on pre-orders.
Prime Photos lets members order prints, organize, and store all their photos with unlimited storage at no extra cost. Although the service is good for keeping track of your own files, it’s geared toward sharing. Members can invite up to five friends or family members to receive unlimited photo storage and collect photos together in a joint album.
Prime Pantry is Amazon’s grocery delivery service, offering members deals on non-perishable goods, household items, and exclusive Amazon-branded snacks. If you want timed delivery for items you go through every week, Pantry might be a good option.
Although it’s not free, Amazon Fresh is the online giant’s foray into the fresh grocery delivery service, tackling competition like Instacart. For an extra $15 a month on top of your Prime subscription, Fresh is a nice perk when you want to throw in a few vegetables with your Prime Pantry purchase. It’s a convenient service for quick delivery, though probably not your best bet for a whole week’s worth of groceries.
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Amazon Meal Kits
Amazon Meal Kits are a new meal prep option for those who aren’t too savvy in the kitchen. The meal kits are offered through Amazon Fresh. So far, 17 meals are available for purchase, like Tacos Al Pastor and Togarashi-Spiced Salmon.
The kits aren’t cheap—a meal kit for two costs $19. Still, the total cost isn’t far off from competitor Blue Apron‘s meal kit prices, which cost $10 per serving for a 2-person plan.
Prime members can access an extensive collection of books, magazines, and other content for leisure reading with Prime Reading. Although most book options are geared toward Kindle readers, you can also order hardcover, paperback, and audiobooks instantly.
Amazon Prime gives members the option to create an Amazon Household and share their account by linking a family member or friend. This allows you both to reap the benefits you’re paying for (or split the yearly bill). However, if your circle is larger than two people, you can also add multiple cards under one account.
So, is Amazon Prime really worth it? It all depends on how much you plan on using the service, but if you’re shopping online or are interested in streaming entertainment, you’ll be surprised just how quickly you’ll recoup on your investment.
Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.
Kristen Hubby is a tech and lifestyle reporter. Her writing focuses on sex, pop culture, streaming entertainment, and social media, with an emphasis on major platforms like Snapchat, YouTube, and Spotify. Her work has also appeared in Austin Monthly and the Austin American-Statesman, where she covered local news and the dining scene in Austin, Texas.