I have been an Amazon Prime Member for pretty much as long as I can remember. I joined mainly because I do a lot of online shopping and hate to pay for shipping. It’s a pet peeve, just like all those fees you run into while traveling.
I have realized that being a Prime Member is not just about saving on shipping, there are a lot of Amazon Prime benefits that come in handy for travelers. Even if you are already a member you may be surprised to learn about all these Amazon Prime hacks.
What is Amazon Prime?
If you’re not familiar with Amazon Prime, it’s a membership program with Amazon that gets you access to a number of benefits – not just free shipping. You also must be an Amazon Prime member to get access to special deals on Amazon Prime Day (annually in July). In this post, I will explain how some of these benefits can be useful when traveling.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. Please see disclosure below for more information.
If you are not already an Amazon Prime member, you can sign up for a free 30 day trial:
|US Amazon Prime free 30 day trial||UK Amazon Prime free 30 day trial|
**US College Students: You can get a special deal on your Prime Membership, click here for more information.
The benefits may differ depending on which country you have your Amazon Prime membership in. In general, this post is based on my experience with the US Amazon Prime Benefits, but from what I researched I could not see any significant differences in the UK Amazon Prime program.
Note: Amazon Prime in Canada does not include all of these benefits, please refer to this page for more details on what would be included in your membership. You should check your local Amazon website for more information if you are based in another country.
Top Amazon Prime Benefits For Travelers
1 – Music
It’s always nice to have music to keep you entertained whether you are at home or traveling. As an Amazon Prime member, I can access tons of songs from all types of genres on my phone even if I don’t have any data. I don’t have to carry CDs or an extra device.
I love having music playing to drown out noises, especially when I am trying to sleep on the airplane. There’s nothing worse than being next to someone that snores all the way through a twelve hour flight without music!
One of my favorite Amazon Prime account benefits is that you get access to Prime Music which means over 2 million songs with no annoying commercials. Amazon updates the selection of songs and albums available with Prime Music periodically, adding new titles and sometimes removing songs. Both the US and UK have Prime Music but I think the songs and playlists that are available differ.
You can choose to listen to specific songs, Prime Playlists put together by the Amazon music experts, or personalized Prime Stations. I love that you can skip as many songs as you like. You can also give songs a thumbs up or a thumbs down so that the app will get to know what songs you like.
Plus, you can download the playlists and songs so that you can access the music offline. I don’t think there is a limit on the amount of music you can download. I have been listening to the stations and curated playlists and downloading all the songs I like so that I will have plenty of music for those long haul flights.
The Amazon music that you download can only be played through the Amazon Music App. I also like that the Amazon Music App has a sleep timer!
Either on your computer or through the app, you can choose songs from Prime Music that you like and create your own playlists. You can also add your own music, including songs you have purchased through iTunes.
Before I had Amazon Music, I used the free version of Pandora streaming radio service but it began to feel very limited. The ads were irritating, and I wasn’t able to use Pandora offline without upgrading to the paid version. Pandora is not available in some countries, so when I would travel to England I would not be able to use it even when I had wifi. As a traveler, that’s a real drawback!
If you feel like Prime Music does not have enough songs, then you can upgrade to Amazon Music Unlimited which has over 10 million songs! There is an additional monthly fee so you should try it out for free for 30 days and see if you like it.
2 – Kindle Books
Prime members have access to tons of eBooks for free! Ebooks are perfect for traveling because they don’t take up any extra space or add weight to your luggage. If you are a fast reader, this is gold! Russell can easily go through three books on a beach holiday.
You don’t have to worry about finishing the books you brought along because your Kindle (or Kindle app) can hold plenty. It’s also nice that you don’t need to worry about a bookmark, the app will remember where you read to.
I was one of those that converted to ebooks early on. I love that you can carry loads of books with you easily. Plus, ebooks are cheaper than even paperback books.
I actually don’t have a Kindle or Amazon Fire, I just use the Kindle app on my iPhone. There is also an app for Android. I didn’t want to have to buy another device or have another device that I would need to travel with. Click here to get the FREE Kindle App and read ebooks on most devices.
How to Access Free eBooks with Amazon Prime
With Amazon Prime, there are three ways you can access free eBooks. First, there is the Amazon First Reads (formerly known as Kindle First) where Prime members get to download a new book for free every month from the Amazon First Reads picks. On the first of the month, you get an email with the choices for the month which span most genres. You can find more information about Amazon First Reads and how to subscribe to the email in the US here and in the UK here.
Second, if you own a kindle or Amazon Fire you have access to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library which contains hundreds of thousands of titles. You get to borrow one book per month and keep it as long as you like. You can choose which title you would like and then download it from the Cloud on any Kindles, Fire tablets, and Fire phones that are part of your Amazon account.
Finally, you get access to Prime Reading. You don’t need a kindle or Amazon Fire to access Prime Reading like you do with the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library. In Prime Reading you get to “borrow” up to 10 titles from a selected list of about 1000 books (as of July 15, 2019) and lots of magazines.
Amazon updates the options available periodically, and titles are added and removed. The Prime Reading catalog includes best sellers like Harry Potter, nonfiction, romance and even some audio books. Plus, you can even find some travel guides.
If you are a bookworm and that is still not enough books for you, then you can also sign up for Kindle Unlimited. With Kindle Unlimited you get unlimited reading and unlimited listening on any device. You can choose from over 1 million titles, thousands of audiobooks, and current magazines for just $9.99 a month in the US. Want to see what Kindle Unlimited is like?
If you still want more ebooks then check out bookbub (not affiliated with Amazon). You can sign up to get email notifications when ebooks that you may be interested go on sale. I have gotten so many ebooks so cheap thanks to bookbub – many even free. I just wish I had more time for reading!
In Canada, ebook benefits are not part of prime benefits, but you can get a free trial of Kindle Unlimited – click here for your one month free trial. Unfortunately, residents of Quebec are not eligible for the free trial.
3 – Audiobooks
Audio Books are another great way to keep yourself entertained while you travel when you can’t read a book. Wouldn’t it be fun to listen to an audiobook on a road trip? As part of your Prime Benefits, you also get free access to Audible which includes a great selection of audiobooks that you can listen to on any device.
Audible is a separate app where you can find a selection of audiobooks including best sellers, family favorites, celebrity-narrated classics and more. There is also a selection of audible channels for Prime members. You can also stream as many “Prime exclusive” audiobooks as you like. The Audible app also has a sleep timer.
If would like access to the full Audible benefits or want audible without becoming a Prime member, you can get a one month free trial. In the US, click here to try audible and get two free Audiobooks. In the UK, you can get a one month free trial here.
4 – Video –
Another great benefit of the Amazon Prime membership is getting access to thousands of Prime Video titles for free. You can download videos so that you can watch them on the plane, train, or whenever you are without internet access. With the app, you can watch the videos on your phone, tablet, computer, or Smart TV. The limit is the space that you have on your device.
If you don’t want to use space on your device and have internet access, you can just stream the videos. You can also stream using mobile phone data, but depending on your phone plan that could get expensive. When you are traveling internationally due to licensing issues, the videos you can stream are limited.
Amazon updates the video library periodically by adding new videos and also removing some. There are lots of tv shows and popular movies to choose from and they also have original series like Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle, that are only available through Amazon Video.
If you aren’t interested in the other Prime benefits, you can just get a subscription to Prime Video. In the US you can get a free one month trial of Amazon video here. If you are in the UK you can get a free one month trial of Amazon video here.
Prime Video does not include premium channels unless you already have a cable subscription for them. However, you also have the option to purchase Amazon Channel subscriptions to Showtime, Starz, and other streaming entertainment channels. Depending on what you watch on tv, this could be a great replacement for cable. In the US, click here to join the Amazon Channels free trial and in the UK you can get your one month free trial here.
5 – Photo backup and storage
I take a lot of pictures because to me they are the best souvenirs and the best way to document your travels. It’s nice that I don’t have to backup photos while traveling since the app does that for me. I had no idea about the Prime Photo feature until my friend, Melissa, was showing me her wedding photos.
There is an app you can download for your computer and/or mobile device. The app on your phone automatically copies the photos you take. For the desktop version, it will copy photos that you put into a specific folder.
I actually use both. That way, I can easily access photos taken on my phone on my computer so I can edit them. I can also delete the photos from my phone, so I don’t need to pay for additional iCloud space.
You can also share your photos through the app with up to five family members (or friends). All photos stay private until you add them to the Family Vault. Then the other people can see them and also add their own pictures. The other people do not have to be Amazon Prime members, but they will need to download the app.
The one problem I have with this is the sharing does not work across countries – or at least between the US and the UK. Russell cannot access my pictures, so for us to share photos we have to create shared folders on iPhoto.
6 – Prime Drive –
Storage always seems to be an issue for me especially now that I have been doing more videos. Prime members do get an additional 5GB of cloud storage (this does not include the photos). Every little bit helps, right?
The drive is easy to set up. You just create a folder on your computer to use with the drive. Whenever you add a file to that folder, it gets automatically backed up to the cloud. You can access this drive from any computer.
7 -Restaurants –
In some areas, Prime members can order delivery from popular restaurants through Amazon. You can even use this when you are traveling if the area you are traveling has Amazon restaurants. It could be a great option after a long day sightseeing to have a quiet dinner in and not have to worry about cooking or finding a restaurant. You can see reviews of the restaurants just like you would when shopping for other Amazon products.
Unfortunately, Amazon Restaurants is no longer available.
8 – Free Fast Shipping –
The free shipping may be the reason most people sign up for Amazon Prime. Have you thought about how you could use them when you’re traveling too?
I have purchased items (especially liquids) and then had them shipped to my destination. How long the shipping takes depends on the location. Some areas have delivery as fast as 2 hours. Of course, the free shipping does not work internationally, and I am not sure I would use it staying at a hotel, but it is an option to consider.
I thought I should also let you know about a few other prime benefits that are not necessarily travel related but will save you money or are just nice to have:
- Prime Exclusives: Amazon’s hand-picked products offered only to Prime members.
- Early Access to Deals: Get 30-minute early access to Lightning Deals on Amazon
- Free Release-Date Delivery: You can be one of the first to get new video games, books, music, movies and more. Just choose “Release-Date Delivery” on qualified items and you will receive it by 7 p.m. on that date.
- Amazon Family: You can save up to 20% off diapers and 15% off eligible products from your baby registry. I know diapers can be expensive!
- Prime Pantry: Allows you to get low-priced everyday essentials in everyday sizes shipped to your door for a flat delivery fee.
I have been a big fan of Amazon for a while now and love my Prime membership. I just wish there was only one Amazon Prime App, but maybe that is something to look forward to?
Sharing Your Prime Benefits with Family Members
You can share some of your Amazon Prime benefits with another adult who uses the same payment method by creating an Amazon Household. The benefits of Amazon Prime membership that you can share are free shipping, Prime Video, Prime Photos, Audible Channels, and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. You cannot share Prime Music, Prime Reading, or Amazon First Reads.
Another Way to Save Money on Amazon
In the US, if you have not signed up for Ebates, you are missing out. It is an easy way to save money not just on Amazon, but other online shopping. When you want to buy something you go to the Ebates website first and then click on the store you want to buy from. Once you make your purchase, Ebates gets a commission, which they then turn around and share with you. Ebates will send you a check monthly.
Click here to sign up for Ebates.
While eBates does not work in the UK, you can try similar programs like Topcashback and QuidCo.
Amazon Credit Card
There is one other Amazon-related perk that you might want to take advantage of if you are in the US. They have a credit card which actually has some pretty good travel benefits and no annual fee. Just keep in mind for the credit card to be free you need to pay off your balance each month. Late fees and interest would negate any benefits.
The Amazon Credit Card gives you no foreign transaction fees, travel and emergency assistance, lost luggage reimbursement, baggage delay insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, and travel accident insurance. Plus you get some perks at properties in the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection like the potential for room upgrades and VIP guest status. You will have access to the Visa Signature Concierge Service 24/7 to assist with planning and booking your travel.
In addition, Amazon Prime members will get 5% back on Amazon Purchases (3% if you are not a Prime member). For gas, restaurants, and drugstores, you get 2% back and for all other purchases, you get 1%.
The card may not have as many benefits as something like the Chase Sapphire Preferred card which has an annual fee of $450, but I think that is a great deal for free! Right now, you actually get a $70 amazon.com gift certificate once you are approved. To apply for the Amazon Credit Card, click here.
Discounted Amazon Prime Membership for Students
Also if you are a college student, you can get a free six-month trial and then discounted Prime membership for 4 years or until you graduate. During the free trial membership, you would not be able to take advantage of all the Amazon Prime benefits though. You would get free Two-Day Shipping, Prime Video, Prime Photos, as well as Student-exclusive deals and discounts. The discounted student prime membership does include all the benefits described above. To sign up for your free 6 month student trial in the US click here.
Justifying the Cost of Prime Membership
Many people think prime membership just means free shipping but it is so much more than that. When you are deciding whether to become an Amazon Prime member you need to think about which benefits you will use and how much they are worth to you.
This is going to be different for each person. Especially if you are on a budget, it would be a good exercise to go through each of the perks for Amazon Prime to see if you would be able to save an amount equal to the price of the membership.
You may be able to cancel other services and use the prime benefit instead. For example, one person may decide they don’t need Netflix anymore because they will just use Prime Video, but another person will want to have both. If you did cancel Netflix and you were on the cheapest plan (about $7.99 per month) that pretty much offsets the cost of Prime Membership without even taking into consideration the rest of the benefits.
Now you can see the benefits of being a Prime Member, especially if you are a traveler! For those of you that are already Prime Members, make sure you are taking advantage of all the benefits that are included. I have found they come in handy, especially for travelers.
For those of you that are not members, you can sign up for a one-month free trial to see if you like it. To sign up for a free trial in the US click here and in the UK click here. If you are not satisfied you can cancel it and you won’t be charged a thing.
Are you an Amazon Prime member? What are your favorite Prime benefits? Do you have questions about how to make the most of your Amazon Prime membership?
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