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17 Amazon Prime Benefits You Might Not Know About

An Amazon Prime subscription gives you unlimited free two-day shipping, but unless you're ordering a lot of packages, that benefit may not be worth the $119 fee. The good news is, however, a Prime membership delivers a lot of perks, especially if you're interested in reading, watching movies, and ordering household goods.

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Read books for free

One of the best Amazon Prime benefits for big-time book readers is a trio of free reading products: Prime Reading, Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, and Kindle First. Prime Reading gives Prime members open access to thousands of free books and magazines each month, from Harry Potter to InStyle magazine. You can even browse these titles and download them to your device for long flights or Internet-free zones.

Kindle Users can access Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and borrow one book per month with no reading deadline. Prime members also have access to pre-released books through Amazon’s early access program, Kindle First.

Prime Reading is available on any device, but the Lending Library and Kindle First are only available on Kindle, Fire tablet, and Fire phone. We love Amazon Prime Day! Check out the techie products we bought during last year’s Prime Day.

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Download videos for offline viewing

For movie buffs, downloading for offline viewing is one of the best Amazon Prime benefits. Prime members on Fire tablets, Fire phones, Android phones or tablets, and iOS devices can download specially-marked Amazon Prime videos (current options include Creed and Mother’s Day) to their device and watch them later. The time period you have to view a download varies by title, and not all Prime videos or shows can be downloaded.

Long flight ahead? You can download multiple titles. When you reach your account’s maximum, just delete something you’ve already seen, and you’ll have room for the new flick. Don’t miss these Amazon hacks to save money while shopping online.

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Free the Washington Post subscription

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and CEO, bought the Washington Post in 2013, and as a benefit, all Amazon Prime members receive a free one-month digital subscription to the national newspaper. (Without Prime, the cost is $9.99 per month.) If you decide to keep taking the paper after the free trial period, the subscription renews at just $3.99 per month.

Here are some of our favorite subscription services to help make your home happier.

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Enjoy Prime Music and Prime Video subscriptions

Like Spotify, Prime Music is an ad-free and on-demand music streaming service, included in your Prime membership. The more music you play, the better Prime Music will be at selecting your preferences and building playlists that might interest you. For an additional $7.99 per month ($79 annually), Prime members can also subscribe to Amazon Music Unlimited and gain access to over 50 million songs. Without a Prime membership, you could expect to pay $9.99 per month for access to Amazon Music Unlimited. You can also stream this service on the Amazon Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot for in-home entertainment.

Likewise, Prime Video is a virtual warehouse of great TV shows, movies, and award-winning original Amazon Studios content. With Prime Video, you can stream shows or movies to your Kindle, Fire TV, laptop, and more.

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Store photos for free

If you’ve ever experienced a computer or phone crash that wiped out years of photos you had meant to back up, you already know the importance of a cloud-based storage option where you can safely stash your treasured files. Amazon Prime members receive unlimited photo storage with up to 5GB of storage for videos and other files in Prime Photos. You can also invite up to five friends and family members to share storage in your Family Vault, and anyone in the group can order prints directly from your digital photo albums.

Psst! Learn about Amazon Warehouse and why you should shop there.

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Have access to premium streaming channels

Amazon Prime benefits continue in the TV and movie entertainment division: Prime members can connect to third-party stand-alone streaming subscriptions for premium services, such as Showtime, CBS All Access, Cinemax, and Hallmark Movies, on Amazon Channels. With Prime, the first 30 days are free. After that, prices vary per channel.

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Get same-day delivery with Amazon Prime Now

As if free two-day shipping wasn’t good enough, Amazon Prime benefits are even sweeter for people living in 100 cities serviced by Amazon’s Prime Now delivery option. This service offers free two-hour delivery from Whole Foods, and they’ll even pick up items from local stores, restaurants, and businesses to bring to you for a small delivery fee. Prime Now deliveries are made seven days a week, from early morning to late evening. Check out the weird story behind Amazon’s name.

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Free grocery delivery with Prime Pantry

Do you have staple grocery items you buy month after month? Toiletries, snacks, household cleansers, and more are all available through Amazon’s Prime Pantry. One of the best Amazon Prime benefits for busy people, Prime Pantry lets you fill a box full of grocery staples for a flat $5.99 delivery fee. Prime members who spend $35 or more receive free shipping—or you can pay an additional Prime Pantry membership fee of $4.99 per month to guarantee free shipping on all orders.

Some Pantry items qualify for coupons or discounts, and those will display on the item’s page so you don’t miss them. In the end, you may get a better bargain and certainly skip the trip to the store with Prime Pantry purchases.

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Get better deals with Subscribe & Save

If you’d like to turn your Prime Pantry orders into automatic deliveries, Amazon offers Subscribe & Save, a subscription service for all sorts of home goods, from toiletries and cleaning products to snacks and beverages. Save 15 percent when you select five or more products for scheduled auto-deliveries. You select the frequency of your orders, and each month, Amazon sends you a reminder email so you can choose to cancel or skip that month’s shipment.

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Alarm ClockPeter Gudella/Shutterstock

Jump-start savings with Prime Early Access

Amazon’s everyday Lightning Deals are a chance to score big savings on books, electronics, and more—and many are teased 24 hours ahead of their sale start. With a Prime membership, you get a 30-minute early access window to these big sales (those that will be available through Early Access will have a badge with the product details.) One of the best Amazon Prime benefits is Prime Day, an entire day of big savings exclusively for Prime members. Most Prime Days occur in the summer, but keep an eye on the Prime Day homepage for the next event.

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Get release-date deliveries

Starving for the next book in your favorite series? Eager to get your hands on a brand-new DVD? Amazon’s Release-Date Delivery program allows you to pre-order items, from books to electronics, and receive the shipment the same day the item is released for sale. Simply select the Prime free two-day shipping option at checkout, and the hot new item will be delivered to your doorstep while everyone else is standing in line.

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Get deals on diapers

The Amazon Prime benefits for parents are plentiful, especially for parents of young babies and infants. With an Amazon Family subscription, you can save up to 20 percent on subscriptions for diapers, baby food (excluding formula), thousands of ebooks, and more. You’ll also receive a newsletter with details of special discounts, coupons, sales, and more. When you sign up, Amazon sends you a Welcome Box with a surprise selection of products for you to test and try.

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Earn discounts with No-Rush Shipping

If you decide you don’t need that box of envelopes, rain boots, or what have you the day after tomorrow, you can select free No-Rush Shipping at checkout, and Amazon will reward you with a promotional reward or instant discount. Those discounts or rewards may be used for a variety of items in several categories, including ebooks, Amazon Instant videos, Prime Pantry, and more. There’s no limit on how much you can earn, so select the slower delivery option whenever possible for big rewards.

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Stream audio with Audible Channels

Podcast fans, listen up: You can stream original audio series and your favorite podcasts with Amazon’s Audible Channels. With the Amazon phone app, you can pop in your earbuds and slip into a thriller on the treadmill, a political biography by the pool, or a romance novel on the plane. Prime members can listen to the full library for free, while those without a Prime membership pay $14.95 per month.

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card at a discount of 15% is a lot of discount cardsIryna Tiumentseva/Shutterstock

Earn cash back on gift cards

The Amazon Reload program lets you earn two percent in rewards every time you reload your Amazon gift card with funds from your checking account. The benefit only accumulates when you make a transfer; scheduled transfers won’t earn you any extra money. Reloadable Amazon gift cards are a great way to offer a surprise for a friend, deliver a monthly allowance to a kid, or help yourself stick to a budget.

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Try new things and save

If you’re a fan of samples and testing new products, the Amazon Prime benefit you may appreciate the most is Prime Samples. This program allows Amazon Prime members to try sample boxes of new products and earn credits that you can use on any full-size versions you buy. Categories include beauty and grooming, sports nutrition, beverages and food, and more. While you will pay for each sample box, Amazon will issue you a credit in the same amount toward a future purchase.

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Share your membership

If you’re moving into a new home with another Prime member, you two can share one Prime account and split the cost with Amazon Household. One thing to note: You both must agree to let the other account member see your payment information, so if you’re not keen for your roommate to see your private information, this may not be an agreement for you. For families, however, it’s a great way to stay efficient with purchases and keep the Amazon orders coming. Next, check out some Alexa hacks all homeowners should know.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest

Kimberly Holland
Kimberly Holland is a lifestyle writer and editor based in Birmingham, Alabama. When not organizing her books by color, Holland enjoys toying with new kitchen gadgets and feeding her friends all her cooking experiments.