What the Tech? Is Amazon Prime worth the cost?

(ABC 6 News) – I’m sure you’ve heard that Amazon Prime Day returns on July 11th. The mid-year sales event was invented by the online retailer to encourage shoppers to make purchases and to help market its Prime membership program. Over 200 million people subscribe to Prime and pay $139 a year for 2-day free shipping and special Prime Day deals.

When Prime first came along back in 2005 a membership was just $79 and for people who do a lot of online shopping, that price was a no-brainer for the discounts and 2-day free shipping. Now the price is $139. Other retailers are matching Amazon prices and most offer free shipping as long as your order is over $25. Even Amazon offers free shipping to non-Amazon members for orders over $25. So is Amazon Prime still worth the extra money? If you’re only using it for shipping and deals, probably not.

Prime memberships have other benefits that may make it worth the $139 but only if you use them. Here are a few Prime benefits you may not know about:
• Amazon Prime Video. This is similar to Netflix and Hulu. Free streaming of movies and shows on any device or television.
• Amazon Prime Music. Similar to Spotify and Apple Music.
• Amazon Prime Reading. Members receive one free book per month that can be read on a Kindle device, phone, tablet, or computer. Amazon offers books of its choice, you don’t get to pick from any book sold at Amazon.
• Amazon Gaming. Members can download and play one free video game per month. Prime members can also get one free subscription to a Twitch channel each month.
• Grub Hub+ membership. Grub Hub is similar to Door Dash in delivering meals from nearby restaurants. To get this benefit Prime members need to download the Grub Hub app and sign in with their Amazon Prime account. A subscription removes the delivery fee which is typically $7. The Grub Hub membership benefit is for one year after which it converts to a $10 subscription.
• Prime Try Before You Buy. This is for purchases of clothing at Amazon. Add what you’d like to try on to a cart and check out. When you receive the items. you have 7 days to try them on and decide which you’d like to keep or return. You aren’t charged until after you return the items.
• Free shipping from some of Amazon’s other storefronts such as Woot! and Zappos.
• Prime-only deals and early access to other deals on Prime Days, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday.
• Free unlimited photo storage in Amazon Photos. Using the Amazon Photos app you can upload all of the photos on your phone, or using the interface on a computer you can upload and backup every photo. Video storage is limited but you can purchase more storage space in the app or on the website.

Many Amazon Prime members do not know about these benefits. If you’re a Prime member you should take advantage of any or all of these extras to get your money’s worth of an annual subscription.