Skip to main content

What is Amazon Prime? Your guide to membership benefits, trials, offers and more

Amazon Prime
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Amazon Prime offers customers free two-day shipping on a massive range of goods as well as other benefits that include access to Prime Video, cheaper subscription prices, and - of course - exclusive deals, especially on Amazon Prime Day.

Amazon Prime is $119 a year or $12.99 if you'd prefer to pay month by month. To help you decide if this is the right membership for you, we've put together this guide to answer the question, what is Amazon Prime? We'll tell you everything you need to know, such as benefits, fees, shipping, and if it's worth the money.

Perhaps the best perk of the membership program is that you can sign up for an Amazon Prime free trial. This allows you to try out the service for 30 days and enjoy all the benefits with access to free two-day shipping. You can cancel at any time, or you'll be automatically upgraded to a paid membership plan at the end of the trial period.

Amazon Prime | Sign up for a 30-day free trial
You can sign up for a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime and enjoy all the perks such as free two-day shipping, entertainment, exclusive deals, and more. You can cancel at any time, and your account must have a current, valid credit card to begin the free trial.
View Deal

What is Amazon Prime?

Amazon Prime is a paid membership subscription that gives you access to free two-day shipping in the US, UK and Australia on millions of products. Your Prime membership also allows you to enjoy Amazon's entertainment services, which include Prime Video, Music, and Photos. If you own a kindle, you'll also get access to thousands of e-books and early access to a free monthly book from the Kindle First selections.

Your Amazon Prime membership will also get you access to perhaps the biggest sale event of the year, Amazon Prime Day. Exclusive to Prime members, the sale event is typically held in July and includes sitewide discounts on everything from TVs and laptops to vacuums and kitchen appliances. You'll see the biggest savings on Amazon's own devices which include smart speakers, streaming devices, tablets, and more. Due to the coronavirus, the date for Amazon Prime Day hasn't been announced, and according to Reuters, it will be held in August at the earliest.

How much does Amazon Prime cost?

An Amazon Prime annual membership costs $119 per year. That's $20 more than what people paid before the price increase in May of 2018. If you'd prefer to pay month by month, it will cost you $12.99, which is $37 more than the annual membership amount.

If you're a student, you can get the membership at a reduced rate - $59 for an annual membership, or $6.49 if you want to pay month by month. Amazon also offers a 50% discount for qualifying customers with an EBT or Medicaid card.

Amazon Prime shipping

As we've mentioned, as an Amazon Prime member, you'll receive free two-day shipping on millions of eligible items. You'll even get access to free one-day shipping and same-day shipping depending on your location.

For most people, the free two-day shipping is the most significant benefit of your Prime membership because of the money you're saving on shipping costs. You're also saving on time because while Amazon offers free shipping on orders of $25 or more for nonmembers, you still have to wait five to eight business days for your purchase to arrive.

Is Amazon Prime worth it?

To decide if Amazon Prime is worth the cost, you should first weigh the benefits of its biggest perk - free two-day shipping. If you place orders from Amazon frequently and care about getting your things in a timely manner, then the $119 fee is well worth it. For nonmembers, standard shipping for orders under $25 is $5.99 and if you select two-day shipping it will cost you $9.99.  If you place 20 orders a year, the standard shipping fees equal the Prime Membership cost.

The entertainment benefits that come along with your Prime membership are also worth considering. Perhaps the most popular service, Prime Video, allows you access to thousands of movies and TV shows at no additional cost. You'll also get access to Amazon Music, Photos, and Kindle First Selections. 

Last but certainly not least, your Prime membership gets you access to exclusive deals and the biggest shopping event of the year, Amazon Prime Day. If you're a bargain shopper, this might be your biggest draw considering the discounts alone could cover your membership fee. 

How do you cancel Amazon Prime?

During your 30-day free trial, you can cancel your Amazon Prime membership at any time. If you don't cancel within the 30 days, you'll be automatically upgraded to a paid membership plan at the end of the trial period. 

To cancel your Prime membership, you'll need to log in to your account and select "Your Prime Membership" from the "Account and Lists" drop-down menu. You'll be redirected to an overview of your membership and benefits where you'll select "Manage Membership" on the top right-hand side to cancel your account.

Learn more about Amazon Prime Day 2020 in the US: is it going to be in August this year? You can also see the best Amazon Prime shows: 21 fantastic TV series worth binge-watching.

Learn how you can get an Audible free trial: what's included and how to get Audible free.

Mackenzie Frazier

Mackenzie Frazier is the deals editor in the US for TechRadar at Future plc. She's been sharing deal advice for Future for the past three years and loves to find products that the consumer wants at the best possible price. She's had eight years of experience working in the e-commerce space and loves being a mom to her baby boy.