Stores and restaurants may be closing early — or shutting down indefinitely — because of coronavirus fears, but Amazon remains open for business, as the online giant looks to ease some of the panic around shortage of food and supplies.
The company’s Amazon Fresh program continues to offer free grocery delivery in select cities (though a note on the website warns that inventory may be affected due to increased demand), and while toilet paper and hand sanitizer have become scarce commodities in physical stores, Amazon still has a wide selection of TP and some hand sanitizer still available online. Amazon delivery continues uninterrupted for the most part, which is good news for customers — especially those who are stuck at home.
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The best deals will still be reserved for Amazon Prime members. The site’s membership program is best-known for its free two-day delivery on hundreds of thousands of items online (with one-day and same-day delivery now offered on select items as well). But there are a number of other Amazon Prime benefits you may not know about, including ways to stay entertained if you’re currently staying indoors per work or doctor’s orders.
If you’re not a Prime subscriber, Amazon is currently offering a full 30-day free trial that’ll give you access to try out the service. Try it out for a month and if you like the perks, you can subscribe to Amazon Prime for $129.99 for the year (that’s less than $11/month, or about the price of a Netflix subscription). Students can get a free six-month trial and an annual subscription for 50% off.
What do you get with your Amazon Prime membership? We’ve rounded up some of the best deals and hidden benefits below.
1. Amazon Prime Video
Amazon has its own video streaming service called Prime Video, which competes with the likes of Netflix and Hulu. Prime members can stream a mix of original programming (Jack Ryan, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) and catalogue titles (Downton Abbey, The Sopranos) on their PC, Mac, iOS, or Android, or streaming device. Computers can stream video from Amazon’s website, while mobile devices and video streaming boxes require the Amazon Prime Video app.
Prime Video’s catalogue is pretty deep, and has titles in every genre. Parents in particular should be aware of Prime Video because of Amazon’s deal with Viacom, which brought classic cartoons like Spongebob Squarepants to the service. Amazon Prime Video isn’t available as a standalone subscription, but you can test it out as part of Amazon’s 30-day free trial for Amazon Prime.
If you want even more content, you can access premium programming from AMC, HBO, Showtime, and more through a program called Prime Video Channels. For an additional monthly fee (the price varies per channel), you can stream the entire digital library of the selected channel on demand. Amazon offers a free one-week trial for several Prime Video Channels if you’d like to test them out for yourself. Prime Video is also available as a standalone subscription which costs $8.99.
2. Amazon Prime Music
Yes, Amazon also has a music streaming service for subscribers called Prime Music, which allows you to stream music from a library of more than two million songs. You can listen to as many songs as you’d like ad-free, with unlimited skips, and even download tracks to your phone for offline listening. Like Prime Video, all of Amazon Prime Music content can be accessed through your computer’s browser, or via the Amazon Music app on your mobile device or media streamer.
Two million songs is a lot, but if you want to be able to stream music from a library of 50 million, you can subscribe to Amazon Music Unlimited. The service costs $7.99 per month for Amazon Prime members, or $9.99 for non-prime members. It works the same way as Amazon Prime music, but you can stream more songs. Audiophiles should also consider Amazon Music Unlimited HD, which has the same song library, but lets you stream high resolution music (up to 192/24) for the highest fidelity possible. This top-tier service costs $12.99 for Amazon Prime members, and $14.99 per month for non-prime members.
3. Prime Reading
Bookworms rejoice! Your Amazon Prime subscription includes Prime Reading. The digital book service allows you to choose up to 10 titles from a 1,000 item library containing books, magazines, and audiobooks. Don’t worry, you don’t need a Kindle to read or listen, you can download the Kindle app on your iOS or Android device. Amazon has curated its library with titles in a variety of genres, so there’s bound to be something you like. Prime Reading isn’t available as a standalone subscription, but you can test it out as part of Amazon’s 30-day free trial for Amazon Prime.
If you’re a voracious reader looking for more, you can subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, which is basically a souped-up version of Prime Reading. Kindle Unlimited subscribers get access to a library with over one million books, current issues of magazines, and thousands of audio books. You can download as many books as you want at one time, and read them through the Kindle app. Kindle Unlimited costs $9.99 per month, but Amazon offers a 30-day free trial in case you want to try it for yourself.
4. Twitch Prime
Here’s one for the gamers. Amazon owns the popular game streaming service Twitch.tv, and it offers a bunch of great perks to Amazon Prime members through a service called Twitch Prime. The most alluring benefit is access to free games and in-game loot. The selection of free content changes every month, but it stays in your library.
People with a favorite streamer will be happy to know that Twitch Prime gives you one free channel subscription per month. If you subscribe to a Twitch channel, you’ll get access to subscriber only perks, like exclusive emoticons and chat privileges. Twitch Prime also gives you account an exclusive badge, expanded chat color options, and exclusive emoticons; these perks can be used on the entire site, not just channels you’ve subscribed to.
Twitch Prime isn’t available as a standalone subscription, but you can test it out as part of Amazon’s 30-day free trial for Amazon Prime.
5. Amazon Wedding Registry
In our opinion, there’s no better place to register for your wedding gifts than Amazon. Amazon’s wedding registry offers millions of items on its site, from housewares to furniture to bedding and beauty, and unlike some department stores, which can take weeks to ship your items, Amazon Prime member will get their registry items with priority two-day shipping. What’s more, registrants that have received $500 or more in purchases from their Amazon Wedding Registry will receive a 20% Wedding Gift discount, to use say, on something that didn’t get selected from your registry.
Registering is easy (start here), and you can customize your page with photos, notes and special messages to your guests. Need some inspiration? Actress Jennifer Lawrence registered for her recent wedding on Amazon and is sharing her picks here.
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