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Everything you need to know about Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime is much more than an online delivery service. Here are all the perks and features you need to know about.
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If you regularly shop online, enjoy listening to music or love to binge movies and TV shows, you seriously need to consider joining Amazon Prime. For as little as $4.91 a month, it provides a wide range of perks that go far beyond quick delivery.
Despite being available since June 2018, Amazon Prime remains something of a mystery to many Australians. If you're not sure what the benefits are or precisely what's included, this guide is here to help.
What is Amazon Prime?
Amazon Prime is the backbone of Amazon delivery services, letting customers get fast deliveries for the cost of one annual subscription. It's essentially a premium Amazon membership that grants access to extra deals, faster customer service and a variety of online services ranging from video games and movie streaming to unlimited ebooks and music. Members also get free delivery on millions of eligible items.
Perhaps most importantly, it's the only way to get the best discounts during Amazon Prime Day (more on that below).
In Australia, Amazon Prime comes with the following perks and services:
- Free two-day domestic delivery.
- Free Standard International Delivery on eligible orders over $49.
- Prime Video: A Netflix-style streaming service with over 2,000 titles.
- Amazon Music: A Spotify competitor boasting 2 million songs.
- Prime Reading: Free access to thousands of ebooks, short stories, comics and children's books via the Kindle Store.
- Prime Gaming: Free access to a selection of PC games, with more added every month (plus free in-game loot for select titles).
- Access to 12 subscriptions via Prime Video Channels.
It's worth noting that the list of inclusions for Australians is shorter than the US version. American Amazon Prime members also get the following:
- A huge range of online stores with lower prices than existing stores.
- Free, fast and unlimited delivery when buying almost anything online.
- Free same-day, or even two-hour, delivery on thousands of items from groceries to electronics.
- Fast delivery from participating restaurants.
- Free release date delivery on items pre-ordered before their release.
- Prime Photos, with unlimited digital cloud storage for your photos and a range of useful extra features.
- Amazon Prime Twitch, for game discounts, pre-orders and more.
- Exclusive Amazon Prime discounts and deals.
- Membership sharing, where households can share an Amazon Prime subscription.
With that said, Australians currently pay significantly less for Amazon Prime than Americans do.
How much is Amazon Prime in Australia?
Amazon Prime costs $6.99 per month in Australia. There's also an annual subscription available that costs $59 per year (the first month is free).
This is significantly cheaper than in the US, where an Amazon Prime subscription costs US$12.99 per month or US$119 per year (around $18 and $170, respectively).
It appears that Amazon is pursuing an "introductory pricing" strategy to build up its install base in Australia. You can therefore expect pricing to increase at some point, so go for the yearly subscription if you want to save money.
Does Amazon Prime offer a free trial?
Yes. Unlike some subscription services we could mention (we're looking at you, Netflix), Amazon Prime does offer a free one-month trial. While the first month is free, you'll still need to provide your payment details. If you forget to cancel within that month, you'll be charged automatically for the following month.
Amazon Prime delivery perks explained
The chief selling point of Amazon Prime is arguably the delivery perks. In Australia, Amazon provides free expedited delivery on thousands of eligible items with no minimum purchase. If you order a lot of smaller items from Amazon Australia that don't bounce over the free shipping limit, that could quickly add up to some significant savings.
Amazon Prime members also receive unlimited fast delivery, which works out to a maximum delivery time of two business days for most of Australia. It's also possible to get same-day delivery on select items if you live within a qualifying metropolitan area.
For new release movies, games and music, Amazon offers what it calls "release date delivery" on select items. For practical purposes, given that you wouldn't be able to buy these items anywhere else until that day, it would effectively be same-day delivery, as long as you've pre-ordered them.
The caveat here is that Prime delivery only applies to goods actually shipped by Amazon Australia, or what it calls "Prime eligible" products. Amazon Australia now has millions of items in its local catalogue, but not all of them come out of its own warehouses. Those products won't be Prime eligible, so you'll need to check carefully when shopping to see if your shipping will actually be fast and free.
Amazon Australia is also offering free international shipping for Amazon US orders worth over $49 for Amazon Prime members.
As mentioned earlier, Amazon Prime offers a number of services outside of online delivery. Perhaps most significant is Prime Video. In America, this costs US$8.99 per month all by itself, so getting it for $6.99 per month as part of the entire Prime service is a bargain.
Prime Video includes original movies and TV shows that you can't watch anywhere else (notable examples include The Grand Tour, The Boys and an upcoming adaptation of The Lord of The Rings). There's also a decent selection of films and TV shows dating from modern times all the way back to the silent era.
While the library isn't as impressive as some of its rivals, it is cheaper (not to mention all the other Amazon Prime features it comes with). Fans of esoteric and B-grade cinema are particularly well catered to by Prime Video – it's the only streaming service offering glorious rubbish like Beastmaster and Deathstalker II. It's a lot like a video store from the 1980s, but with lots of new release titles too.
Check out our regularly updated list of Amazon Prime movies and TV shows and compare it to our list of Netflix movies and TV shows. Remember that both of these lists are being updated all the time. If both services have something you want, then it might be worth getting both, or you might just get Prime for the lower price.
Best Prime Video shows
Check out our top 20 list of offerings from Amazon's original series library.Read more…
Amazon Music is Amazon's answer to Spotify and Apple Music. It provides unlimited streaming access to over 2 million songs, ad-free. There's a dedicated app for Android and iOS devices, and you can also download tracks to continue listening to your music when you're offline. An individual Amazon Music subscription normally costs $11.99 per month, so getting it with Amazon Prime is truly excellent value for money.
Prime Reading is an all-you-can-read library of around 1,000 ebooks compatible with most Android and iOS devices. Naturally, you can also use Amazon's range of Kindle ereaders. In addition to fiction and non-fiction books, the service also provides access to an impressive range of digital comics (including bestselling titles from DC and Marvel), short stories and children's storybooks.
Note: Amazon also has a subscription ebook service called Kindle Unlimited, but this isn't that service. Kindle Unlimited contains over 1 million ebooks and costs a hefty $13.99 per month.
Amazon Prime includes free access to Amazon's game streaming service, Prime Gaming (previously known as Twitch Prime). Amazon Prime members can get access to free games and in-game content, as well as ad-free viewing of Twitch content.
Amazon Prime Day
Amazon Prime Day has cemented itself as one of the world's most popular shopping events, with deals that easily rival the Black Friday and Boxing Day sales. Over 48 bargain-filled hours, Amazon slashes the prices of thousands of items on its website, including popular tech products such as the Nintendo Switch.
The catch is that you need to be an Amazon Prime member to get the best deals. Fortunately, it's possible to sign up to a free one-month trial to take advantage of the deals. Click here to get your free trial.
Amazon Prime Day
Amazon Prime Day still has another full day of bargains coming - here are the best deals and everything else Australians need to know.Read more…
Is Amazon Prime worth it?
If you do a lot of shopping online – or you would like to – there's no doubt that Amazon Prime is well worth the asking price. The huge variety of products and third-party sellers on Amazon means that you can find almost anything you need in one place. And then there's the unlimited free delivery.
That's undoubtedly where you'll see the biggest benefits of a Prime membership, especially if you're in a metro area of Australia already. If you buy high-cost items, you may well qualify for free shipping anyway, but having a Prime membership will mean that no item (as long as it's Prime eligible) will be too low-cost to order.
And even if you do pass the free delivery threshold with a normal account (currently for orders of $49 or above), delivery will take around 3-7 business days, which is somewhat slower than the 2 business days offered by a Prime membership. So if quick delivery is a must, then there could be some value there.
You also gain access to some of Amazon's best digital services at no extra cost, including Prime Video, Amazon Music and Prime Reading. That translates to around 2,000 movies and TV shows, 1,000 ebooks and 2 million songs for $59 per year. That's astonishingly good value, even without all the shopping perks.
Finally, there are the exclusive Amazon Prime Day deals, which could potentially save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars over the course of your membership. In conclusion, even if you're only interested in a few of the included features, Amazon Prime is definitely worth it.
How to get an Amazon Prime discount
If you're signing up for the first time, you can get a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime. This will then become a paid service if you don't cancel your membership on time. The lowest per-month way to get Amazon Prime will be the annual membership for $59 per year, which works out to $4.91 per month.
Amazon Prime Pantry vs Amazon Pantry Food and Drinks
The Amazon Pantry Food and Drinks hub is a non-perishable goods store that sells a range of snacks and drinks. This is not to be confused with Amazon Prime Pantry in the US, which delivers groceries in a Prime Pantry Box for a flat delivery fee of $5.99. Currently, Amazon does not offer Amazon Prime Pantry in Australia. You also don't need to be an Amazon Prime member to access Amazon Pantry Food and Drinks.
Amazon Prime Frequently asked questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about Amazon Prime and the various services that come with it.
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