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The 5 best features of Amazon Prime that make a membership worth the cost

amazon prime packages

  • An Amazon Prime membership offers many benefits, including fast shipping on tens of thousands of products, and access to movies, music, books, and more.
  • Prime members can save money on groceries, household cleaning products, diapers, baby food, and many other staples.
  • An Amazon Prime membership also offers access to services like “try before you buy” clothing samples and unlimited cloud photo storage.
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When Amazon launched Amazon Prime back in 2005, it was a membership that guaranteed free two-day shipping on all sorts of different products. That was enough for me; my wife and I became Prime Members in 2006 and have enjoyed fast, free shipping on everything from cat litter to candy to books to beach towels ever since.

And if that’s all Prime ever was — a fast, free shipping plan — it would be worth the $119 annual fee (or less, depending on your circumstances) based on how much we save in shipping costs by using Prime.

But today, Amazon Prime is so much more than just a two-day shipping membership. And it’s more than the one-day or even same-day shipping they offer customers in many areas. Today, Amazon Prime is a one-stop shop for media, groceries, apparel, parenting products, and so much more.

Let’s break it down by category.

SEE ALSO: The best cheap phones you can buy unlocked on Amazon

Amazon Prime shipping

Prime has always and will always be all about fast shipping. Members living in the continental United States (and in many other countries) get free two-day shipping (order on Monday, guaranteed by Wednesday, e.g.) on countless Prime products. In some zip codes, orders over $35 can even get same-day delivery.

And if you don’t need that Emeril Lagasse air fryer or Bluetooth headphones delivered within two days, you can earn rewards that will apply to future orders by opting for no-rush shipping. Wait five or six days, earn future savings; not a bad deal, really.

(On the other hand, if you live in certain areas, you might have to wait as little as two hours for your shipment thanks to Prime Now.)

 

Prime Music

Your Amazon Prime membership offers access to millions of songs that you can stream through your computer or via the free Amazon app. Prime music lets you organize your tunes into playlists, by genre, artist, album, and more.

And Prime members get a discounted price on Amazon Music Unlimited, a subscription-based service that, as far as I can tell, offers every song ever created. Seriously, I have yet to think of a song I wanted to hear and not been able to find it.

Prime Video

Like with Prime itself, Prime Video started as one thing, then grew into another. Initially, Prime Video offered access to thousands of movies and shows produced by other studios. It still does that (and happens to be the source of about half of the TV I watch), but now, Amazon also produces dozens of original programs — both movies and shows — which are available any time to Prime members.

Cloud storage

Amazon Prime members get unlimited photo storage included with their membership, along with an additional 5 GB of free storage for non-photo files. 

Amazon also offers monthly cloud storage plans. These cost $11.99 for 100 GB, $59.99 for 1 TB, $59.99 for each additional TB up to 30 TB. 

Prime Wardrobe

Prime Wardrobe removes one of the last issues online shopping presents: not being able to try on clothes. Prime members can order eligible apparel and then enjoy seven days to try the stuff out after it arrives. You only pay for the garments you keep, and ship the rest back to Amazon in pre-paid packaging.

Bonus: AmazonFresh

For an additional monthly fee of $14.99, Prime members can get groceries delivered to their door. That’s fresh stuff from the local grocery store, mind you, not canned goods and dry pasta. AmazonFresh is not available in all areas, and there is an extra fee for orders under $35, but if you hate shopping for groceries, the added expense might be worth it.

Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:

  • ‘What is Amazon Locker?’: Everything you need to know about Amazon’s convenient delivery pick-up system

  • All the ways you can watch Amazon Prime Video on your TV

  • How you can use a Visa gift card to shop on Amazon, despite it not being directly accepted

  • How to get free stuff on Amazon without an Amazon Prime membership