Amazon Prime is a rare bird. Most of us sign up for things, and we find a hidden fee. A service fails to live up to expectations. With Amazon Prime, it’s the opposite: We get so many perks, we don’t bother to keep track of them.
During the holidays, you’ll be using the Amazon Prime benefit of free shipping like crazy. Take that one more step and you can even set alerts when a price drops or be notified of trending deals.
Here are nine advantages that many Prime members may not even realize exist – and there's no better time to start harnessing them.
1. Great discounts at Whole Foods
Amazon bought Whole Foods for $13.7 billion in 2017, looking to the struggling store as a way to get further into the retail game. Prime members get benefits, such as an extra 10 percent off items with yellow sale signs.
You could also get 5 percent back on Whole Foods purchases with an Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card.
2. Thousands of movies without Wi-Fi
Many Prime customers don’t even realize that a whole library of films can be downloaded. Select Prime Video titles are available to be downloaded to compatible mobile devices, which include Fire tablets, Fire phones, Android phones and tablets and iOS devices.
Find the Prime title you want to download and open the video details. After that, tap on "Download" to start the process. Note that for TV shows, you will want to select the episode you want to download and then look for the specific download icon, which will be a down arrow.
3. Money-back with Reload
Prime subscribers can take advantage of Prime Reload. You can get 2 percent back on purchases when you first load funds into your Amazon balance using a debit card that is attached to a checking account.
In other words, you supply the money for your own Amazon gift card, which you then use to purchase items. For example, you could load $500 into an Amazon gift card using the Reload program and then receive a gift card that’s worth $510.
4. Free editor's choice book every month
Warm up your Kindle; you've got some free reading to do. The Amazon Prime Reading First Reads benefit is your ticket to check out a new book. Prime Reading is Amazon's version of an online library stocked with a selection of books and magazines. You can access Prime Reading through a Kindle e-reader or the Kindle app.
First Reads is a selection of six editor's choice books. Prime members can pick one to read free each month. Chances are good you'll find an option that will draw your interest. A recent list included a thriller, a gothic murder story, a historical novel, a true-crime book, a young-adult book and a cute kid's book about a duck.
5. Product samples and discounts
If you want something tangible to show for your membership, check out Amazon's Sample Box program. You choose from a selection of theme boxes and receive a credit for future purchases of eligible items related to that box.
For example, Amazon has offered a luxury skin care box stocked with perfume, exfoliating gel, moisturizer and skin serum samples for $19.99. You get to try out everything included in the box and also receive a $19.99 credit toward luxury beauty products sold by Amazon. So, if you like something in the box, you can use your credit toward a full-size version of the product or other similar items in that category.
Sample boxes aren't just for beauty supplies; Amazon often offers snack food, pet food and nutrition and wellness-themed boxes as well.
6. Deliveries to your car
Package theft from porches is a growing problem as opportunistic thieves snatch up Amazon customers' deliveries. The retailer is taking a creative new approach to dealing with the issue by offering a service called Amazon Key In-Car Delivery.
In-Car Delivery works with supported models of vehicles, including 2015 or newer vehicles from Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and Volvo that have an active connected car service plan like OnStar. You can set up the in-car option through the Amazon Key app. Amazon delivery agents will then drop off your packages in your car, though it must be parked at an accessible, ground-level location.
7. Try before you buy clothes
Amazon Prime Wardrobe lets you use your own home as a dressing room. Prime Wardrobe works by you filling a box with three or more items of eligible clothing, shoes or accessories, up to a maximum of eight.
Amazon ships you the box and you get a week to try on the clothes at your leisure. You can then keep the pieces you like, pay for them and ship the rest back to Amazon using a prepaid label at no additional cost.
8. Free shipping at other sites, too
One of Amazon Prime's siren calls has always been free shipping, but it's not restricted to just Amazon.com. Amazon acquired popular deal-of-the-day site Woot in 2010. Prime's free standard shipping extends to Woot purchases.
Fashionistas will also be happy to learn the clothes-focused Amazon subsidiary Shopbop is part of the free Prime shipping family, and you get free returns, too. You can get your designer brand fix and free Amazon shipping through East Dane, which is similar to Shopbop, but focused on men's fashion. Between Woot, ShopBop and East Dane, your online shopping horizons with bonus shipping perks have just expanded.
9. Free magazines, podcasts, and audiobooks
Whether you're looking to entertain or inform yourself, you can find Prime perks that will satisfy you. Here's how to get free reading and listening material through your Amazon membership.
• Magazines: Amazon Prime Reading is your go-to source for free access to issues of popular magazines, including Vogue, Bon Appetit, Popular Mechanics, Esquire and Better Homes & Gardens. Just start at the Prime Reading page to browse the magazines that are included with your membership.
• Podcasts and audiobooks: Audible is a division of Amazon that's best known for providing audiobooks, but Amazon also uses it to deliver a service called Audible Channels. Amazon doesn't specifically refer to Channels' offerings as "podcasts," but that's essentially what they are.
You will need to download the Audible app to get started with Channels. Open the app, tap on the menu and choose Channels for Prime. Here, you can choose from a variety of short-form audio programs that explore sketch comedy, music culture, world history and news.
Speaking of podcasts, I’m there too. Just say, “Alexa, play the Komando on Demand podcast.”