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Amazon Prime Day FAQs

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Everything's coming up Amazon as Prime Day approaches and the company claims its new title as the world's largest retailer, edging out longtime top dog Walmart.

If you want to cash in on the deals this season, here's everything you need to know about Amazon Prime Day deals in 2019, and Prime memberships in general. [Curious to know more about the deals available right now? Check out our roundup of the best deals for businesses on Amazon Prime Day.]

Amazon Prime Day 2019 begins at midnight (PST) on Monday, July 15, and will run through Tuesday, July 16.

Amazon Prime Day is an annual 48-hour flash sale. The exact date of Prime Day is not publicized until just before the event happens, so shoppers who want to cash in on fantastic deals need to stay alert.  

You must be an Amazon Prime subscriber to access the deals offered on Prime Day. You also have to be logged in to your Amazon account to see the deals.

During Amazon's previous sales extravaganzas, the retail giant has offered deep discounts on all sorts of products: TVs, furniture, appliances and other everyday essentials. Usually, flagship devices like Amazon's Fire tablets and TVs and Echo speakers go on sale as well.

Amazon Prime Day is a massive promotion, with about 1 million deals being offered during the 36-hour sale window. Past Prime Days have featured steep discounts on technology, so lots of tech outlets serve up live coverage of the best items offered on Prime Day.

The other option to monitor deals is, of course, to just stay logged in to your Prime member account and refresh the homepage regularly so you don't miss anything. You may also want to make a list of whatever you're hoping to snag, helping you stay focused on what you really need and avoid overbuying just to take advantage of a deal.

For those who own an Amazon EchoEcho DotEcho ShowFire TV or Fire tablet, you can access Alexa-exclusive deals through voice shopping. You can preview, track and shop for specific items as you are alerted to new ones from the Amazon app or at amazon.com/watched

To compete with Amazon, other retailers like Best Buy and Walmart have started running their own sales on Prime Day. If you're buying big-ticket items, shop around. Just because Amazon is running a deal doesn't mean it's the best deal out there.

If you want to take advantage of Prime Day deals, you must be a Prime subscriber. Here's what you need to know.

Prime is a subscription offered by Amazon that provides a few benefits to subscribers. The service is typically $12.99 a month (or $199 a year), but students and recipients of Medicaid can get Prime for just $6.99 per month. That is an expansion of the program that affords a deal to anyone on government assistance programs, including food stamps. It requires customers to have a valid Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. 

A subscription includes access to Prime Video and unlimited reading, music streaming, and photo storage, as well as free same-day delivery on eligible Prime products

Amazon offers free two-day shipping in the contiguous U.S. for Prime products; same-day delivery is available in eligible ZIP codes and in select cities. It is $2.99 or $5.99 on most other orders. In those cities, you can get one-hour delivery for thousands of products at local stores. You can get free two-hour delivery in eligible ZIP codes through Prime Now. Saturday shipping prices vary by item size and weight, starting as low as $7.99. Orders over $1,300 may require a signature. 

Consumers in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico can expect Prime deliveries in three to seven days for free. For expedited shipping of two to five days, prices vary by size and weight, starting at $5.99. Priority shipping of one to four days similarly varies, starting at $11.99. Note: Expedited shipping is not currently available in Puerto Rico. 

Prime comes with release-date delivery on eligible preorder items within the continental U.S. Some mail carriers will make deliveries to residential addresses as late as 7 p.m. Signature isn't required for most release-date delivery items. 

It's worth mentioning that Amazon Business comes with its own Prime shipping deals. You get free two-day shipping on orders of $49 or more. You also get improved order tracking and Amazon's tax exemption program.

There are more than 100 million Prime subscribers worldwide, so many shoppers do find value in Amazon Prime subscriptions, but it's not always the cheapest way to shop. The value of free shipping on selected items from Amazon is impacted largely by local prices and availability, bulk prices for business shoppers, and order scheduling. For example, if you own a restaurant and typically order from Restaurant Depot a few times a year, you should do a price comparison; it may be that you're already getting the best deal possible. On the other hand, if you live in a remote area where there is little in-store shopping available or delivery costs are frequently very high, Prime may be worth it.

If you're on the fence, you can always try a free subscription, but if you decide to cancel your subscription after the 30-day free trial, you'll need to proactively cancel before your time is up to avoid getting charged. To cancel your Amazon Prime trial, simply go to your account, select Manage Prime Membership, and click Do Not Continue or End Membership.

Prime members have access to additional Amazon credit, financing, and rewards programs that can help them save money on purchases and get cash back on shopping not just on Prime Day, but all year long. These are the best benefits offered to Prime members currently; if you're certain you'll be shopping a lot on Prime Day, you may want to sign up now.  

Prime members are eligible for an Amazon Prime Store Card with no annual fee. You earn 5% back on every Amazon.com purchase, as long as you're not using promotional financing. Store Card holders can choose promotional financing on orders of more than $149, to be paid back over the course of six months. For orders of more than $599, you get 12 months. Interest starts accruing on the purchase date if you have not paid your balance within the given timeframe. The APR was 28.24% as of press time.

Eligible Prime members can earn 5% back on all Amazon and Whole Foods Market purchases, in addition to 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% on everything else. It has no annual credit card fee and no foreign transaction fees. As soon as you are approved, you get a $70 Amazon gift card. The APR starts at 16.49% as of press time, but it can go as high as 24.49% depending on your credit history.  

Through a rewards program called Amazon Prime Reload, members can earn 2% cash back on select items when they first load funds into their Amazon balance using a debit card attached to their bank's checking account. Your gift card balance never expires, and there are no fees associated with this perk. You'll have to provide Amazon with your driver's license number and bank account information, though, and the process of adding funds takes about five minutes but can be delayed by as much as four hours. 

For two adults living in the same household, you can create an Amazon Household to share benefits. Plus, you can extend your personal account to your Amazon Business account to take advantage of some of its benefits on business purchases. First, log in to your personal account. Then, click Your Account > Your Prime Membership > Share Your Prime Benefits. Next, select Extend Prime shipping to your Amazon Business account. You'll need to enter those credentials and then click Extend Your Prime Shipping Benefits. If you're already a Prime member anyway, this seems like a no-brainer.

If you don't yet have a Prime account, you can do this process in reverse. First, log in to your Amazon Business account. Then, go to Amazon.com/prime to complete the sign-up process. 

Additional reporting by Anna Attkisson.

Mona Bushnell

Mona Bushnell is a New York City-based staff writer for Business.com and Business News Daily. She has a Bachelor of Arts in writing, literature, and publishing from Emerson College and previously worked as an IT technician, copywriter, software administrator, scheduling manager, and editorial writer. Mona began freelance writing full time in 2014 and joined Business News Daily in 2017. She covers business technology and reviews CRM systems.