Amazon Prime is continuously growing, both in popularity and in features. To begin with, Amazon Prime was simply a way to get unlimited next day delivery at no extra cost, but it now encompasses a video streaming service, music streaming service, digital books, magazines and comics, unlimited cloud-based photo storage and its newest feature: Amazon Channels.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about Amazon Prime, including its latest new features and how much Amazon Prime costs.
Amazon Prime benefits
In this section, we'll be listing all of the different benefits you'll get if you decide to sign up for Prime, and you can read on further to find out how much it costs and more detailed information about each feature.
The core feature of Amazon Prime is delivery. You'll get unlimited one-day delivery at no extra cost for millions of eligible items. In some postcodes, which we will go into more detail about below, you can even get unlimited same-day delivery on some items.
Plus, if you're not in a hurry you can choose no-rush delivery to get promotional credit as a thank you.
Amazon's Netflix rival is called Amazon Prime Video, and there you'll find thousands of films and TV shows, some exclusive, to stream. Better yet, you can download them to watch offline.
However, if Amazon Prime Video is a deal-breaker for you in deciding whether or not to get Prime, know that Amazon is said to be developing a free ad-supported streaming service. This has not been officially confirmed yet, so it may be a while before it sees daylight.
That said, it's very easy to cancel Amazon Prime if you sign up only for the video and then would prefer the free option.
Prime Video is supplemented by Amazon Channels, which adds to the TV streaming service by introducing 40 TV channels available at an additional cost for Prime members.
Amazon has announced that, starting in 2019, it will show 20 exclusive Premier League matches per season at no extra cost for its subscribers.
Gamers can also enjoy extra benefits through Twitch Prime, including free games every month and ad-free viewing on Twitch itself.
Additionally, you'll get Prime Photos, which gives you a secure way to store unlimited photos in the cloud.
Prime Music is a fairly new addition to Amazon Prime but it is one that is rapidly growing and improving. It's Amazon's answer to Spotify, with thousands of songs available to stream.
Confusingly, there's also Amazon Music Unlimited. It differs to Prime Music by offering more songs but at additional cost - subsidised for Prime members. See Amazon Prime Music vs Amazon Music Unlimited for more.
If you're a bargain hunter you'll like the Prime Early Access feature, which means you'll get 30-minute early access to Amazon's Lightning Deals to ensure that you don't miss out.
And for readers, you'll enjoy Kindle Owners' Lending Library, which lets you borrow a book per month for free, as well as a book from the Kindle First picks.
Amazon Pantry is another benefit that offers access to purchase everyday essentials in a virtual box for just £2.99/$5.99.
Some of these benefits aren't limited to one individual, either. With Amazon Household, you can share delivery, Prime Video and Kindle Owners' Lending Library books with one other adult member of your household.
Then there's Prime Reading, which lets members download and read unlimited books, comics and magazines from its library of more than 1,000. You can find out more about Prime Reading here.
How much does Amazon Prime cost?
To get all of the benefits listed above for a year, you can pay an upfront sum of £79/$99, which works out at £6.58/$8.25 per month. Don't forget to take advantage of the 30-day free trial first, though.
You also have the option to pay for the full Amazon Prime service monthly for £7.99/$12.99 per month - this gives you the freedom to cancel any time, but does end up costing a fair bit more than the annual version.
There is an option to pay monthly if you only want Prime Video, but that'll still cost you £5.99/$8.99 per month so we think it's worth paying the £79/$99 if you think you'll make use of any of the other features - the next-day delivery alone is probably worth the tiny extra cost (and in fact, in the US the annual version of Prime works out cheaper than even the version with just Prime Video).
How to get Amazon Prime Student
For students, there's a brilliant Amazon Prime six-month trial, after which you'll pay £39/$49 per year. Amazon Prime Student members do miss out on a few benefits during their free trial, though. You won't get access to the Kindle Owners' Lending Library or Kindle First, and you can't share the membership with another member of your household.
And of course, to get access to Prime Student you'll need to actually be a student! After you graduate, or at the end of your fourth year of the membership, your membership will become an Amazon Prime membership at its full price of £79/$99 unless you cancel.
What is Amazon Family?
Another option is to join Amazon Family, which in addition to all of the Amazon Prime benefits listed above gets you 20% off nappies subscriptions and exclusive offers and discounts. The trial is 30 days just like Amazon Prime and costs the same £79/$99. You'll need to provide a few details about you and your family in order to qualify, and only one membership is available per household.
Below, we go into more detail about each of Amazon Prime's different services to give you a better idea of what you'll get if you sign up.
Amazon Prime Video started life as LoveFilm but was purchased by Amazon and transformed a few years ago. It's a Netflix rival that provides unlimited streaming of more than 15,000 films and TV shows for a monthly fee of £5.99/$8.99 or as part of the Amazon Prime £79/$99 membership.
You'll find many exclusive Amazon Originals available, including the hugely popular The Man in the High Castle and Mr Robot. You'll also find the likes of The Walking Dead and Arrow as well as films like The Dark Knight and Paddington. We've rounded up our favourite films on Amazon Prime if you want to see what you can get.
However, it's worth noting that not all content is included in the monthly fee, which is where it differs from Netlfix. If the film or TV episode has a Prime banner and you're already subscribed to Prime, it won't cost you any extra, but within the service you may also see films and episodes within Amazon's library that are available to watch but require you to cough up some extra cash if you want to buy or rent them.
An added bonus is the fact that you can download many (but not all) of the shows and films available on Amazon Prime Video to watch offline whenever you choose to, perhaps on a commute or on a flight. You can download videos to iPads, iPhones, Android devices and Amazon Fire devices at no additional cost. For more, read our comparison of Netflix vs Amazon Prime Video
In addition to Amazon Prime Video, Prime members now have the option to subscribe to further TV via its Channels service. There are 40 TV channels available, each with its own additional subscription fee ranging from £1.49/$2.99 per month right up to £9.99/$14.99 per month.
Channels vary by country, but in the UK you can get Discovery for £4.99 per month, Eurosport Player for £6.99 per month, ITV Hub+ for £3.99 per month and more. For the full list of Channels and their prices, visit Amazon Channels.
Is your address eligible for Same-Day delivery?
If you're a Prime member, you can get Same-Day evening delivery for no additional charge if you live in an eligible area. For non-Prime members that service would cost £9.99/$8.99 per delivery.
In the UK, so far Amazon has made Bath, Birmingham, Bristol, Dudley, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hemel Hempstead, London, Milton Keynes, Northampton, Slough, St Albans/Welwyn, Walsall, Wolverhampton and Worcester part of the service, and you can check your specific postcode here.
If that's not quite fast enough for you, you can even get deliveries within the hour thanks to Prime Now. Exclusively for Prime members, Amazon Prime Now is an app that you can download for iOS, Android or Amazon devices with a large selection of products that are available to order for delivery within one hour. It'll still cost £6.99/$7.99 but that seems a small price to pay if you've forgotten to buy an anniversary present and your partner will be home in an hour and fifteen!
You can order from Prime Now for two hour delivery, too, and that's available for free as part of your Prime membership if the order is worth at least £40/$35, with a £3.99/$4.99 fee below that.
Amazon claims Prime Now serves 30% of the UK population after it launched in Glasgow on 27 July 2016, adding its first Scottish city. It now covers London, Birmingham, Newcastle, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Portsmouth, South Yorkshire, Surrey and a few surrounding areas.
Amazon is also going after popular delivery service Deliveroo. It has introduced restaurant delivery in many major cities via the Prime Now app or website. You can order meals to be delivered right to your door from restaurants including Strada, Gastronomica, Planet Hollywood, Crazy Bear, Benares, Pod, Tossed and more.
To use the new service, download the Prime Now app and enter your postcode. If a delivery service is available, you'll see Amazon Restaurants on the home page of the app. You'll be able to browse menus, place orders and track the delivery status.
Use the code AMAZON10 at checkout for £10/$10 off your first Amazon Restaurants order via the Prime Now app or website.
It may seem quite futuristic, but Amazon has been trialling a drone delivery system to help it deliver in a timely manner to remote locations but also to help with Prime's delivery promises.
In early December 2016 it made its first successful drone delivery, delivering a TV streaming stick and bag of popcorn directly to the garden of a customer in Cambridge.
Also that month the company filed a patent for airborne fulfilment centres, massive warehouses that will hover at altitudes of up to 45,000ft holding fleets of drones for delivering its packages.
No-Rush Delivery Programme
If you're a Prime member and you're ordering something that you really don't need in a hurry, you can choose the 3-5 day delivery option and get a promotional credit towards a future purchase. This can be applied to Kindle, MP3 or Amazon Video purchases from Amazon.
Amazon Cloud Drive is an online service that lets you store files remotely and securely to access from wherever you are. With Prime, you'll get free unlimited photo storage to enable you to backup your photos and access them from the web, on the mobile app or on the desktop application.
Amazon Prime Music now has two million songs available to listen to ad-free as part of your Amazon Prime membership. The artists are more limited than some rival services like Spotify right now, but the library is growing all the time. You can find out more about Amazon Prime Music here.
Amazon Music Unlimited takes on Spotify and Apple Music as a music-subscription service that lets you listen to any song (with a catalogue of 40 million) on any of your devices, ad-free and available to download for offline listening too. It’s now officially available in the UK as well as the US, but while it is subsidised for Prime members it is not part of the Prime subscription. See Amazon Prime Music vs Amazon Music Unlimited for more.
Amazon lounges, Premium Seating and Pre-Sales
In March 2017, Amazon announced that UK Prime members would now get exclusive access to tickets for luxury Amazon lounges at venues like the O2. Also on offer for members is premium seating and pre-sale tickets to major gigs at associated venues in the UK.
Prime Early Access
Amazon Lightning Deals are particularly popular during busy shopping periods like Black Friday, the lead up to Christmas and January sales, as they're a chance to pick up bargains across a huge range of different product categories. The catch is that the deals only last for a few hours and there is only a limited amount of stock available.
With Amazon Prime you'll get access to these deals 30 minutes before everyone else, meaning you'll be more likely to be able to take advantage of the deal before it runs out both in terms of time and quantity.
You can share your Amazon Prime benefits with one additional adult and up to four children using Amazon Household. Find out more about how to share your Amazon Prime membership here.
You might not have realised this, but Amazon actually sells groceries, and it's pushing the idea one step further with its Amazon Pantry service, which is pretty new to the UK but has been available elsewhere for a while now.
You can fill a 'Pantry Box' with up to 20kg of groceries from a huge list of options including food, drink, health products, beauty products, pet supplies and more, and then Amazon will deliver that for £2.99/$5.99 with an additional fee of 99p for each extra box you buy in that same order (in the US it's a flat fee or $5.99 per box).
It's designed to be convenient, meaning everything you need is delivered right to your door, and it's quite cheap too - cheaper still if you take advantage of the weekly deals and coupons.
Kindle Owners' Lending Library
The Kindle Owners' Lending Library lets you borrow books to read on your Kindle, Fire tablet or Fire phone. You can borrow one for free each month but there's no due date so you can take as long as you need to read it.
If you like to read books ahead of everyone else then you'll like Kindle First, which lets you buy one featured book for free each month in addition to the free book you'll get from the Lending Library.
In addition to Kindle Owners' Lending Library and Kindle First, Amazon has added Prime Reading to the growing list of services it offers to its members. Prime Reading lets you download and read as many comics, books and magazines as you wish from its rotating library of more than 1,000 titles. It's more limited than Kindle Owner's Lending Library in its selection, but we're sure you'll find plenty to keep you entertained.
In the US, Amazon has introduced another new perk for Prime members. They're able to get 20% off game pre-orders in the US, while the UK gets a slightly less impressive £2 off per pre-order.
The deal applies to physical copies of games available on Amazon even if they're special editions, but doesn't apply to any bundles. The discount is automatically applied at checkout.
One lesser known perk of Amazon Prime is Twitch Prime, a set of extra goodies through the giant game streaming platform Twitch.
The biggest bonus is a set of free games each month, but you can also get in-game items, character skins, and vehicles, along with ad-free viewing on Twitch itself. Check out our Twitch Prime explainer to find out more.