Amazon Prime is a membership program designed to offer customers perks for loyalty to the retail giant. Consumers who sign up for a $99 annual fee (or opt for a $12.99 monthly fee) enjoy free two-day shipping, free streaming of video and music, and access to e-books. But businesses also appreciate Prime benefits, and you can now extend your personal Amazon Prime membership to your Amazon Business account. Here's what you need to know.
What is Amazon Prime?
More than half of U.S. Amazon.com customers have an Amazon Prime account, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. People say they love the convenience, shipping, savings and entertainment options offered through the program. Your membership starts with a free 30-day trial. After that, you can pay $12.99 per month or $99 per year. For recipients of Medicaid, you can get Prime for $5.99 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 have a valid Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card.
Note: If you decide to cancel your subscription after the 30-day free trial, you'll need to proactively cancel before your time is up. Simply go to your account, select Manage Prime Membership and click Do Not Continue or End Membership.
Faster shipping options often cost extra, but with a Prime membership, you can have your equipment delivered in two days for free within in the contiguous U.S. The vast majority of Amazon items are eligible for Prime shipping, but there are some exceptions, such as products sold through the Amazon Marketplace (unless that seller chooses to offer it).
Same-day delivery is available in eligible ZIP codes, and in select cities, you can get 1-hour delivery for thousands of products at local stores.
It's worth mentioning that Amazon Business comes with its own 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.
Prime members enjoy a 30-minute head start on Amazon's Lightning Deals. A recent survey of current Lightning Deals included 83 percent off an iPhone 6 screen protector, 61 percent off a portable battery pack and 20 percent off a surge protector. While those might not be the same as 50 percent off a new laptop, for a small business, little deals like this can add up to big savings.
During Amazon's annual sales extravaganza, known as Prime Day, you can save even more. At 6 p.m. PT on July 10 and continuing on for the next 30 hours Amazon will offer deals exclusively to Prime members. New offers will be posted every 5 minutes and will apply to hundreds of thousands of products in more than 20 most-shopped categories such as techies or pet lovers.
Taking it one step further, if you use your voice to order products on Prime Day, you may be eligible for some Alexa-specific deals. Alexa is Amazon's artificial intelligence assistant built into the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, Amazon Tap, Fire TV and Fire tablets.
If you're a parent, you might also appreciate the FreeTime Unlimited perk that comes with Prime. It comes with a ton of kid-friendly, free content for $2.99 per month. Non-Prime members pay $4.99.
Amazon Store Card
Prime members are eligible for an Amazon Prime Store Card, with no annual fee. It earns you 5 percent 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 time frame. The APR was 26.24 percent as of press time.
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 Business account. Then, go to amazon.com/prime to complete the sign-up process.
Amazon offers some pretty tremendous streaming-media benefits. You get access to Prime Video, which comes with popular original series, such as Transparent and The Man in the High Castle. Prime Reading lets you read more than 1,000 e-books and magazines for free with no limits. Twitch Prime lets subscribers watch Twitch game streaming without ads. Prime Music can stream 2 million songs to eligible devices, while Audible Channels let you listen to exclusive, original audio series.
Amazon also throws in some other fringe benefits. The Prime Photos perk gives you unlimited photo storage from any device. Prime Pantry can help you stock up on perishables and other household goods for less. And gamers can get special, exclusive deals on new titles.
If you upload money to your Gift Card account on Amazon, you're eligible for the Prime Reload program. Through that, you get 2 percent cash back when you load funds onto your account using a debit card attached to your bank's checking account.