Amazon Prime isn't just free shipping. Here are 12 extra perks for signing up

As our lives become increasingly busier, online shopping is emerging as the clear choice in terms of convenience. You can order everything from groceries to luxury items with the click of a button, knowing they’ll arrive at your doorstep in a matter of days. But is online shopping really better in terms of costs and benefits?
Amazon answers this question with a resounding “Yes!” As one of the most prominent online retailers, Amazon has cornered the market for knowing what consumers want, and figuring out the best ways to meet these demands. And for those of you who frequent the website, you know that an Amazon Prime membership offers fast, free shipping for the low price of $99 a year. But is free shipping really worth it? Yes, when you consider all of the other benefits of an Amazon Prime membership.
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1. Early Access to Deals
Prime members are eligible for Lightning Deals, granting them access to deals across Amazon 30 minutes before other customers can see them on the site. New deals are posted every day, and customers who use the Amazon app can receive alerts on their phones when an item they’re interested in goes on sale.
Business Wire
2. Unlimited Photo Storage
For those customers who need a safe place to keep all of the pictures from their phones and digital cameras, Prime Photos offers unlimited photo storage. This perk also allows you to share your albums with friends and family across 5 accounts. You can also order prints, calendars, cards, and other items personalized with your photos.
Cloudwards
3. Free Music Downloads and Streaming
Many people already take advantage of Amazon’s streaming services with movies, television, and music, but they offer an additional deal. When you buy a vinyl album or CD, you can use Prime’s AutoRip function to download the music directly to your computer while you wait for your physical copy to arrive in the mail.
TechCrunch
4. Release-Date Delivery on Pre-Sale Items
If you can’t wait to get your hands on your favorite author’s brand-new novel, you can choose Release-Date Delivery and your package will arrive the same day the book hits stores. So make sure you set up your Prime account before George R. R. Martin finally finishes the next Game of Thrones book to ensure you’re one of the first to read it!
N4G
5. Exclusive Gaming Content
For those customers who’ve already exhausted all of the cheat codes and boss levels, Amazon has found a new way to encourage gamers to sign up for Prime. You can now connect your Amazon Prime account to your Twitch account to gain access to free gaming upgrades and new game content every month.
Twitch
6. Online Newspaper Access
With print media becoming more expensive, more publications are offering digital subscriptions, some of which are using online retailers to help draw in new readers. Because of this, you can use your Prime membership to access a free 6-month subscription to The Washington Post, which allows you to access all of the online content.
The Washington Post
7. Discounted Family Items
By signing up for Amazon Family, you can save up to 20% on items you need for your children. With this service, you can order products like diapers for a discounted price, stream hundreds of kids’ shows and movies for no additional cost, and sign up for additional discounts if you create a baby registry before your baby shower.
Amazon
8. Discounts for College Students
Will you be attending college in the fall? If you have a valid .edu email address, you’re eligible to sign up for Amazon Student, which begins with a 6-month free subscription, and is then 50% off while you’re still in school. With this service, you have access to all of the usual Prime benefits, as well as deals for discounted textbooks.
Amazon
9. Job Search Assistance
If you’re in need of a job, but aren’t having any luck going through the usual channels, Amazon has introduced a new form of job searching. Using the Amazon Services feature, you can market your professional services to potential customers in your area, offering safe transactions between you and your clients, and ensuring that you get paid for your work.
Amazon
10. Free Membership for Late Delivery
You can earn a free month of your Prime membership if one of your packages isn’t delivered by the guaranteed date. There are a few stipulations, though, so check out the company’s policy to find out if your late delivery makes you eligible for a free month.
Financial Buzz
11. Charity Donation
Have you always meant to donate to a charity close to your heart, but always forget, or aren’t sure where to send your money? If you connect your Prime account to AmazonSmile, you can automatically donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases to a charity of your choice every time you shop.
Amazon
12. Unlimited Girl Scout Cookies
Possibly the most important reason to join Amazon Prime: cookies. If you find yourself craving a box of Thin Mints, Samoas or any other Girl Scout cookies, but there isn’t a green sash in sight, don’t worry. With Amazon Prime, you can order Girl Scout cookies anytime throughout the year.
NY Daily News
While most advertisements for Amazon Prime focus on fast, free shipping as the most enticing perk, the additional services you gain through a membership make this an even sweeter deal. And if these 12 reasons aren’t enough to convince you to sign up, Amazon offers customers a one-month free trial to test out the service before committing to a membership.
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