Everything to Know About Prime Member Perks, Plus How to Sign Up for Free: Amazon Prime Membership 101

So you’ve been thinking about an Amazon Prime membership

Published Time: 08.05.2024 - 12:31:13 Modified Time: 08.05.2024 - 12:31:13

So you’ve been thinking about an Amazon Prime membership.

Maybe you’re curious about the latest Prime Video release, or perhaps you’re tired of paying for fast shipping. Whatever brought you here, we’ve compiled everything to know about being a Prime member, including the signup process, benefits, costs, and more.

Why subscribe? The better question is why not subscribe? More than 200 million people have joined Prime already, Amazon confirmed to me. The monthly plan is less than I spend on coffee in a week, yet it grants access to the most talked-about shows and movies, exclusive discounts, grocery delivery, and free and quick shipping (time is money, after all).

I’ve used my family’s Prime membership for over 10 years, so I can assure you, the perks and discounts are well worth it. It’s certainly come in handy for all the purchases my fellow PEOPLE Shopping editors have convinced me to make.

While we can’t guarantee all of these products are on sale now, we’ve frequently spotted them with Prime-exclusive discounts.

Amazon Prime is a subscription service that offers benefits, deals, and services to shoppers who can’t get enough Amazon. This includes discounts on hundreds of thousands of products, exclusive access to the best deals at shopping events like Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday, streaming services (for movies, shows, music, and podcasts) and even grocery perks.

To help you decide if Prime is right for you, you’re treated to a 30-day free trial (or a six-month free trial for the Prime Student plan). Every plan offers the same core benefits, including fast, free shipping. 

Subscribers can choose to pay monthly or annually. If you pay for a full year up front, you’ll save $40.

Prime Access is open to those receiving government assistance. If you’re enrolled in programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, and Supplemental Security Income, you can submit qualifying documents and enjoy Prime benefits at less than half the cost of a monthly subscription.

Prime Student is for students enrolled in two- and four-year college programs. It offers access to all standard Prime benefits, plus additional discounts on school-related products. There are also perks like food delivery deals, textbook rentals, and special rates for Calm, Course Hero, travel, along with other helpful student resources.

Not only do Prime members have access to thousands of deals, including exclusive “Just for Prime” discounts, but they also get a 30-minute head start on lightning deals (discounts that expire within two to six hours). And if you’re unsure about a certain clothing item or accessory, you can utilize the Try Before You Buy feature, keeping items for seven days and only paying for those you decide to keep.

To maximize your savings, consider signing up for the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card or Amazon Store Card for 5 percent back on everything you’re adding to your cart, plus other rewards.

Prime members can shop for groceries with Prime at Whole Foods Market. Save an additional 10 percent on sales and enjoy seasonal deals, convenient delivery (on orders over $35), and pick-up options. Plus, with Amazon Fresh, you get free two-hour grocery delivery on any order over $100.

For those who prefer takeout, Prime members get a free year-long Grubhub+ membership with $0 delivery fees on any order over $12.

Sometimes you think an item is cheap, but then you add on shipping costs. This is what Amazon Prime is most famous for: Any item that is sold and shipped by Amazon and has a “Free Shipping” designation on the page is eligible for fast, free shipping. According to Amazon, 300 million items qualify.

For non-members, there’s usually a stated minimum spend for free shipping. For example, it might say “free delivery on orders shipped by Amazon over $35.” Prime members, however, get unlimited free two-day shipping on eligible items without a minimum spend.


Depending on your ZIP code, you can opt into free same-day shipping, two-day shipping, and even release-day shipping for pre-orders (hello, book fans). But if you’re not in a hurry, you can choose no-rush shipping and get a discount on your current order or rewards on future orders, like credits added to your account to use towards digital music, apps, videos, and Ebooks.

You can also have weekly subscription items delivered on the same day each week, known as your Amazon Day.

Whether you want to stream classic movies or the latest releases, Amazon Prime Video has about 29,000 shows and movies available for your viewing pleasure as of this writing. You can also purchase Amazon Channels from $4.99 per month as a Prime member and get access to HBO, Starz, and Paramount+.

Also included in your Prime membership: Amazon Music, a music streaming library with millions of songs, podcasts, playlists, and radio stations.

Amazon Prime Day is a two-day sale with thousands of exclusive deals for Prime members. The 48-hour event takes place in July every year to mark Amazon’s “birthday” (which is turning 30 this year alongside Harry Styles, Halsey, and Dakota Fanning). Amazon has added more sale events with member savings since Prime Day’s founding in 2015, with the Prime Early Access Sale in October 2022, Prime Big Deal Days in October 2023, and the Amazon Big Spring Sale in March 2024.

Basically, it’s a way to buy the products you’re already shopping for (think household essentials, groceries, seasonal clothes, and pet supplies), but with mega deals you probably won’t find elsewhere. It’s also the opportunity to grab that splurge item you’ve been thinking about at a much more palatable price.

For every Amazon sale, PEOPLE Shopping goes the extra mile to make sure you know about all the best Amazon deals with our Prime Day coverage. 

Standard Amazon Prime membership benefits can be shared between multiple accounts in an Amazon Household, but this doesn’t apply to Prime Student benefits. 

It’s simply a way to share benefits between multiple accounts. To create an Amazon Household, link your accounts under ‘Manage Your Household.” In a Household, you can have three types of accounts:

Amazon Prime Members can cancel at any time by adjusting membership settings under “Your Account.”

There’s a customer service team in place to help you with anything Amazon Prime.

Walmart+: This membership includes early access for deals on Black Friday and other shopping events. It provides convenience with free delivery of groceries, free shipping on eligible products, mobile checkout in stores, and easy returns right from your home. The Walmart+ Membership also provides gas savings, a Paramount+ subscription, auto care and road warranty, and travel perks and savings in partnership with Expedia. Walmart+ is $98/year ($8.17/month) after a 30-day free trial.

Target Circle360: Should you be a frequent flier in Target aisles, consider the Target Circle360 Membership. This membership includes unlimited same-day delivery for items $35+, free two-day shipping on tons of products, and an extra 30-day window for returns. Plus, you have access to other retailers through the Shipt Marketplace. Target Circle360 is $99/year with a free trial, but if you already have a Target Circle Card, the 360 membership drops to $49 annually.

Madison Yauger is a shopping editor at PEOPLE who (almost definitely) spends more time browsing Amazon than you do. Not only has she written hundreds of stories on the best Amazon deals and covered Amazon Prime Day for three years, she’s also been shopping for her own Amazon home and fashion finds for 12 years. Madison shares an Amazon Prime account with her family and uses many of the benefits such as streaming, shopping, and shipping perks.

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