Amazon is a go-to for almost anything. A few clicks and two or so days later, what you need is at your door. But your membership is worth much more than fast shipping.and , for , are just a few of the bonuses. These are just a few of the perks that make the annual cost worth it.
Amazon expanded its sphere during the pandemic — visits to its site reportedly increased by 37% from February 2020 to January 2021 — as it pushed new programs, including , the auto-on broadband-sharing program for . But its shopping experience continues to be its bread and butter.
We’ve hacked through Amazon’s jungle of services to find the most useful (and surprising) Amazon programs that you can use today.
1. Over 2,500 free books and magazines
Prime Reading is your own personal lending library that comes with a Prime membership. With a rotating selection of over 2,500 books and magazines, you can access Prime Reading with the Kindle app on your desktop or portable device or your Kindle e-reader. This Amazon service also lets you share titles with members of your household. Some books in Prime Reading come with Audible narrations so you can multitask while you listen.
Prime Reading also includes First Reads, which gives members a sneak peek at books before they’re released to the general public.
Kindle Unlimited is a $10-a-month subscription service separate from an Amazon Prime account. It gives you unlimited access to more than 1 million ebooks and up to three magazine subscriptions on a Kindle device or Kindle app.
2. Gift cards when you trade in used devices
Amazon is boarding the train to sustainability station, and it’s something you can directly benefit from. With Amazon Trade-In, you can send back your used electronics in exchange for Amazon gift cards. Make sure to check on the eligibility of each product — some trade-in options are only available for a limited time.
3. Discounts on preowned products
Amazon Renewed gives you access to products that may have been opened but unused by their original owners — or were refurbished. Amazon assures that these preowned items work and look like new, coming with the Amazon Renewed Guarantee. A variety of products and brands are available, even from premium names like Apple and Vitamix.
4. Amazon Warehouse discounts
Amazon Warehouse resells millions of like-new or preowned items that have been returned by customers. Some of the products only had their boxes opened by original purchasers before they were sent back, unused, so they’re resold at a discount. While there’s no regular manufacturing warranty on these products, they are backed by Amazon’s 30-day return policy and 90-day renewed item return policy.
To read more about how you can get the most out of Amazon Warehouse, check out our guide on shopping for the bestdeals.
5. Amazon Outlet’s overstocked items
Just like a brick-and-mortar outlet store, but without the gas money. The Amazon Outlet features overstocked items and other products at discounted prices. Like at an outlet, you can find premium brands, items under $10 and products ranging from home furniture and clothing to books and pet supplies. It’s a good place to stay within a budget while being the first owner, unlike some items in the Amazon Warehouse.
Keep in mind that although the online shopping experience is convenient, just like an outlet, the best deals can take sifting to find. Luckily, you can do it from the couch.
6. Limited-time Lightning Deals and discounts
Amazon’s Lightning Deals are a promotion where a product or service is on sale for a short period of time or until it’s sold out. You can find them all throughout the site, but especially on Prime Day and in Today’s Deals. On Prime Day, Lightning Deals are only for Prime members.
There is one lightning deal per customer until the promotion ends or all the deals are claimed by other shoppers. You can join a waitlist for a deal, but keep in mind that these discounts are extremely time-sensitive, so grab them fast. Unless refreshing the page over and over is your thing, these deals aren’t necessarily the tool to find something specific because of their fleeting nature and limited availability.
7. 5GB of storage with Amazon Photos
Amazon’s online shoebox for photos and videos offers secure and unlimited full-resolution photo storage plus 5GB of video for Prime members. To use this feature, you can choose to manually or automatically upload media in the Amazon Photos app. You can personalize the displays on Amazon devices like Fire TV, Echo Show and Fire tablets as long as you have the app. There are also ways to create keepsakes using the pictures you upload, such as custom cards and prints.
With the Family Vault perk, up to five family members can share in the same plan. If you want more beyond what Prime offers, there are paid plans available. If you choose to switch — which can be done anytime — there is a 100GB option for $2 per month and 1TB plan for $7 per month.
8. Discounts on Whole Foods hauls
Healthy shopping can rack up the number at the bottom of the receipt. But if you enter your email address, phone number or scan the QR code on your Whole Foods Market app at checkout during your next grocery haul, Prime members receive discounts on select products.
Blue tags indicate sales exclusive to Prime members, while yellow tags mean an extra 10% off of an item already on sale. This gets you discounts on weekly bestsellers, including produce, packaged goods and beauty products, but note that it excludes alcohol. The few cents saved on items may seem insignificant individually, but savings do add up at the end of the shopping trip.
Also, if you don’t want to make the trip across town, Amazon offers two-hour delivery of groceries for free, as long as you meet the minimum purchase amount. But if you don’t mind the drive, there are also one-hour pickup windows depending on your location — just remember to check in with the Amazon app to see if you need to enter the store.
9. Prime’s registries for weddings, babies and more
If the big day is coming up, Amazon’s wedding registry can get a gift wish list set up for everything from daily essentials to group presents. Amazon can help you cover all the gifting bases, and that makes it a convenient option for you and your wedding guests.
The registry includes lists of editors’ picks and bestsellers to help you sort through Amazon’s options, while the browsing feature can inspire new ideas or highlight something you may have forgotten about. You can also buy any item that’s left on the registry for 20% off — which can be returned within 180 days if you decide you don’t like it.
10. Share Prime benefits with loved ones using Amazon Household
Sharing is caring, and Amazon Household lets you extend access to Prime benefits and digital content with others. Using Household, share your Prime account with:
- Up to two adults, each with their own Amazon account. Adults can manage accounts of teens and children.
- Up to four teens (ages 13 through 17). Teens can have their own Amazon login to stream content and shop with parent approval.
- Up to four children (children can’t shop on Amazon).
For more, here are our picks forand .