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9 hidden Amazon perks besides fast shipping and Prime Video

9 hidden Amazon perks besides fast shipping and Prime Video

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Amazon has even more bonus features to offer other than Prime Video and fast shipping.


Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images

Amazon has become a one-stop shop for just about everything on your buy-list. But on top of two-day and same-day shipping for Amazon Prime members, the trillion-dollar tech titan has dozens of services only a few clicks from the homepage. Some, like Amazon Prime Video and Prime Music, make headlines. Others get buried in the enormity of Amazon’s super site. We’re here to help uncover the best of the bunch so you don’t have to get lost in the search tool.

Amazon expanded its sphere during the pandemic — with visits to its site reportedly increasing by 37% from February 2020 to January 2021 — as it pushed new programs, including Amazon Sidewalk, the auto-on broadband-sharing program for Amazon Echo speakers and Ring devices. But its shopping experience continues to be the star of the show.

For avid Amazon shoppers, a ton of lesser-known features can land you stellar deals if you know where to look, including steep discounts on expensive items and free books. We’ve hacked through Amazon’s jungle of services to find the most useful (and surprising) Amazon programs that you can use today.

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1. Read for free with Prime Reading and Kindle Unlimited

Prime Reading is your own personal lending library that comes with a Prime membership. With a rotating selection of over 2,500 books and magazines, you can access Prime Reading with the Kindle app on your desktop or portable device or your Kindle e-reader. This Amazon service also lets you share titles with members of your household. Some books in Prime Reading come with Audible narrations so you can multitask while you listen. 

Prime Reading also includes First Reads, which gives members a sneak peek at books before they’re released to the general public. 

Kindle Unlimited is a $10-a-month subscription service separate from an Amazon Prime account. It gives you unlimited access to more than 1 million ebooks and up to three magazine subscriptions on a Kindle device or Kindle app. 

2. Swap used devices for gift cards and shop for discounted, preowned products

Amazon is boarding the train to sustainability station, and it’s something you can directly benefit from. With Amazon Trade-In, you can send back your used electronics in exchange for Amazon gift cards. Make sure to check on the eligibility of each product — some trade-in options are only available for a limited time. 

Amazon Renewed gives you access to products that may have been opened but unused by their original owners, or were refurbished. Amazon assures that these preowned items work and look like new, coming with the Amazon Renewed Guarantee. A variety of products and brands are available, even from premium names like Apple and Vitamix. 

3. Score discounts in the Amazon Warehouse

Amazon Warehouse resells millions of like-new or preowned items that have been returned by customers. Some of the products only had their boxes opened by original purchasers before they were sent back, unused, so they’re sold again at a discount. While there’s no regular manufacturing warranty on these products, they are backed by Amazon’s 30-day return policy and 90-day renewed item return policy

To read more about how you can get the most out of Amazon Warehouse, check out our guide on shopping for the best deals on Amazon Warehouse.


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4. Take advantage of deals on overstocked items in Amazon Outlet

Just like a brick-and-mortar outlet store, but without the gas money. The Amazon Outlet features overstocked items and other products at a discounted price. Like at an outlet, you can find premium brands, items under $10 and products ranging from home furniture and clothing to books and pet supplies. It’s a good place to stay within a budget while being the first owner, unlike some items in the Amazon Warehouse

Keep in mind that although the online shopping experience is convenient, just like an outlet, the best deals sometimes take some sifting to find. Luckily, you can do it from the couch. 

5. Snag limited-time discounts using Lightning Deals

Amazon’s Lightning Deals are a promotion where a product or service is on sale for a short period of time or until it’s sold out. You can find them all throughout the site, but especially on Prime Day and in Today’s Deals. On Prime Day, Lightning Deals are only for Prime members. 

There is one lightning deal per customer until the promotion ends or all the deals are claimed by other shoppers. You can join a waitlist for a deal, but keep in mind that these discounts are extremely time-sensitive, so grab them fast. Unless refreshing the page over and over is your thing, these deals aren’t necessarily the tool to find something specific because of their fleeting nature and limited availability. 

6. Store pictures and videos using Amazon Photos

Amazon’s online shoebox for photos and videos offers secure and unlimited full-resolution photo storage plus 5GB of video for Prime members. To use this feature, you can choose to manually or automatically upload media in the Amazon Photos app. You can personalize the displays on Amazon devices like Fire TV, Echo Show and Fire tablets as long as you have the app. There are also ways to create keepsakes using the pictures you upload, such as custom cards and prints. 

With the Family Vault perk, up to five family members can share in the same plan. If you want more beyond what Prime offers, there are paid plans available. If you choose to switch — which can be done anytime — there is a 100GB option for $2 per month and 1TB plan for $7 per month. 

7. Share Prime benefits with loved ones with Amazon Household

Sharing is caring, and Amazon Household lets you divvy up Prime benefits and digital content with others. Using Household, share your Prime account with: 

  • Up to two adults, each with their own Amazon account. Adults can manage accounts of teens and children.
  • Up to four teens (ages 13 through 17). Teens can have their own Amazon login to shop with parent approval and stream content.
  • Up to four children (children can’t shop on Amazon).

8. Find discounts on Whole Foods items

Healthy shopping can rack up the number at the bottom of the receipt. But if you enter your email address, phone number or scan the QR code on your Whole Foods Market app at checkout during your next grocery haul, Prime members receive discounts on select products. 

Blue tags indicate sales exclusive to Prime members, while yellow tags mean an extra 10% off of an item already on sale. This gets you discounts on weekly bestsellers, including produce, packaged goods and beauty products, but note that it excludes alcohol. The few cents saved on items may seem insignificant individually, but savings do add up at the end of the shopping trip. 

Also, if you don’t want to make the trip across town, Amazon offers two-hour delivery of groceries for free, as long as you meet the minimum purchase amount. But if you don’t mind the drive, there are also one-hour pickup windows depending on your location — just remember to check in with the Amazon app to see if you need to enter the store. 

9. Handpick an official wish list with Prime’s wedding registry

If the big day is coming up, Amazon’s wedding registry can get a gift wish list set up for everything from daily essentials to group presents. Amazon can help you cover all the gifting bases, and that makes it a convenient option for you and your wedding guests. 

The registry includes lists of editors’ picks and bestsellers to help you sort through Amazon’s options, while the browsing feature can inspire new ideas or highlight something you may have forgotten about. You can also buy any item that’s left on the registry for 20% off — which can be returned within 180 days if you decide you don’t like it. 

For more, here are our picks for the best Alexa devices and which e-reader is right for you.

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