Travelers know convenience often comes at a price. And while some services don’t pay for themselves, Amazon Prime and the included Amazon Prime perks, can be a worthwhile investment for tech-savvy and entertainment-driven travelers.
A membership now costs $119 annually (or $13 monthly); for that price, you get well-known benefits like free two-day shipping, access to exclusive deals, and Prime Video. But the real boon for travelers are the lesser known Amazon Prime perks that deliver trip-ready extras like entertainment, last-minute delivery, photo storage, and even frequent flyer points. I decided to see if I could use Amazon Prime perks to become a more prepared and happier traveler, and was impressed by the results.
Amazon Prime Perks You Need to Use Now
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Prime Reading & Audible
As an Amazon Prime member, you can read books like The Handmaid’s Tale and Harry Potter free with Prime Reading. The feature offers over a thousand free books and magazines to download on any device with a Prime membership. I think it’s one of the best unknown Amazon Prime perks out there, especially for frequent travelers. As a Fire Tablet user, I browse this section before any long flight and download at least one free book for my trip.
Also be sure to check out Amazon’s Audible channels or audio books, which are free to Prime members.
Insider Tip: For Kindle users, a Prime membership grants you access to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, where you can borrow a book each month, along with one pre-released book per month with Amazon First Reads.
Offline Downloads for Entertainment
One of the best lesser-known Amazon Prime perks perfect for travelers is offline downloading for TV shows and movies. You can even search by this feature on the Amazon Video app. Just go to the Library icon, hit “Refine” and filter by the “On Device” option. All downloads will go to a download folder on the app, or you can watch directly from the show’s or movie’s page.
Shipping Benefits: Prime Now
Yes, most people know free two-day shipping comes with a Prime membership, but did you know about the Amazon Prime perk that offers free same-day delivery? While this feature is only available in certain metro areas right now (you can check availability by zip code here), it’s perfect for travelers. Whether you’re in a rush packing and need a specific item or forgot something and need it delivered to your hotel room, Prime Now is a great benefit for travelers. Prime Now also includes restaurant delivery in select cities within one hour and features local stores’ products in select cities.
Insider Tip: Did you know that you can earn rewards for future purchases with free, no-rush shipping? If you don’t need your Prime order right away, select No-Rush Shipping and receive a discount or reward for a future purchase.
Access to Exclusive Products & Deals
An Amazon Prime membership grants access to a variety of products and deals that can save you money on travel-related products and clothes. Prime members have early access to Lightning Deals (also called Prime Early Access Deals), Prime Exclusives, and a whole day dedicated to member shopping deals, Prime Day, which is typically in July.
Another one of the lesser-known Amazon Prime perks is a service called Amazon Elements. This Prime-exclusive line is limited right now (only baby wipes and vitamins so far), but the idea behind it—a dedicated store that uses customer feedback and reviews to create better products—has the potential to become an invaluable tool for travelers who only have enough suitcase space for high-performing products.
Prime Samples is also an incredibly useful perk for travelers; the sample-size products only available to Prime members are great for bargain-priced toiletries and snacks. Plus, you get reward cash for purchasing.
Amazon is also providing discounts at Whole Foods for Prime members: An additional 10 percent off sale items and a new “deep discounts” offering on select, best-selling items.
Insider Tip: If you order through Alexa-enabled voice shopping, you get access to even more deals and discounts as a Prime member.
Prime Photos & Drive
With Amazon Prime, you get unlimited photo storage via Amazon Photos, which is perfect for backing up your vacation photos and storing your favorite memories. Photos are easily organized, you can share photos in a “Family Vault,” and you can even order prints directly from Amazon.
Prime members also get 5G of free storage for files, videos, and anything else you want to store on the cloud with Amazon Drive.
Prime Music & Prime Video
With Amazon Prime, you get unlimited, ad-free streaming on Prime Music. And while Prime Music has over two million songs, Prime members also get a discount with Amazon’s other music streaming service, Music Unlimited.
Another one of the lesser-known Amazon Prime perks is Prime Video streaming, which grants you access to award-winning original movies and TV shows like Manchester by the Sea and The Man in the High Castle. Amazon also hosts other network TV shows like Mr. Robot and The Sopranos. Prime Video also has a library of popular shows and movies to rent and buy.
Insider Tip: You can add premium network subscriptions to your Prime membership via Amazon Channels. This allows you to watch channels like HBO, STARZ, and Showtime without having a cable or satellite account.
Not only can JetBlue passengers stream Prime Video on most JetBlue flights, they can also earn TrueBlue points via Amazon purchases. Simply shop through your unique link (which can be found here) and start earning points. You can earn three points per eligible dollar spent; just make sure you understand which products are excluded from the offer—this includes things like subscription Kindle products and AmazonFresh.
Amazon Credit Cards & Points
Making the most of every dollar you spend is another Amazon Prime perk. Prime members have exclusive access to certain credit cards: The Amazon Prime Store Card and Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card.
The Visa card is exclusive to those with a Prime membership and gives you five percent back on Amazon and two percent back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, with no annual fee. You can redeem your points for Amazon purchases; and the card also has travel benefits like no foreign transaction fees, baggage delay insurance, and travel accident insurance.
The Store card lets Prime members receive five percent back on Amazon purchases, also has no annual fee, and gives access to promotional financing.
Some credit card companies, like American Express, offer one year of an Amazon Prime membership with their cards, while others let you “Shop With Points” on Amazon, though you won’t get Prime benefits.
Insider Tip: All Prime members can earn 2 percent rewards on debit spending when you reload an Amazon.com Gift Card Balance with a checking account.
Food Delivery: Prime Pantry & AmazonFresh
Amazon Prime members also receive exclusive access to Prime Pantry. This service allows for convenient delivery for household items like toiletries, delivered straight to your door. Just make sure to add five qualifying products so the shipping is free. Prime members also receive coupons and discounts on hundreds of items through this service.
If you want to schedule a delivery at a vacation home rental or to have upon your return from vacation, check out Amazon’s grocery delivery service, AmazonFresh. Try AmazonFresh Free Trial, which is only available to Prime members.
Discounted Memberships: Student & Family
If you’re ready to join Amazon Prime, look into some of the discounted membership services first to see if you qualify. Right now Amazon offers Amazon Family and Prime Student at discounted rates.
Amazon Family costs $99 per year, but lets you create a household—meaning multiple users—for shared family benefits. Amazon Family also comes with FreeTime Unlimited—a subscription service for kids’ entertainment—as well as special discounts on household products and diapers.
Prime Student comes at the discounted rate of $59 per year with a six-month free trial to start and a special student page filtered for college-specific needs.
More from SmarterTravel:
- 10 Awesome Things Travelers Are Buying on Amazon This Month
- The 10 Highest-Rated Travel Products on Amazon
- 10 Best Travel Tech Gadgets for Your Phone
Editor’s Note: SmarterTravel.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2017. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.