9 other perks of Ama­zon Prime

There are more free­bies than just ship­ping.

USA TODAY US Edition - - MONEY - Tech Talk Kim Ko­mando You can lis­ten to the Kim Ko­mando Show on your phone, tablet or com­puter.

Ama­zon Prime is a rare bird. Most of us sign up for things, and we find a hid­den fee. A ser­vice fails to live up to ex­pec­ta­tions. With Ama­zon Prime, it’s the op­po­site: We get so many perks, we don’t bother to keep track of them. Dur­ing the hol­i­days, you’ll be us­ing the Ama­zon Prime ben­e­fit of free ship­ping like crazy. Take that one more step and you can even set alerts when a price drops or be no­ti­fied of trend­ing deals.

Here are nine ad­van­tages that many Prime mem­bers may not even re­al­ize ex­ist – and there’s no bet­ter time to start har­ness­ing them. 1. Great dis­counts at Whole Foods

Ama­zon bought Whole Foods for $13.7 bil­lion in 2017, look­ing to the strug­gling store as a way to get fur­ther into the re­tail game. Prime mem­bers get ben­e­fits, such as an ex­tra 10 per­cent off items with yel­low sale signs.

You also could get 5 per­cent back on Whole Foods pur­chases with an Ama­zon Prime Re­wards Visa Card.

2. Thou­sands of movies with­out Wi-Fi

Many Prime cus­tomers don’t even re­al­ize that a whole li­brary of films can be down­loaded. Se­lect Prime Video ti­tles are avail­able to be down­loaded to com­pat­i­ble mo­bile de­vices, which in­clude Fire tablets, Fire phones, An­droid phones and tablets and iOS de­vices.

Find the Prime ti­tle you want to down­load and open the video de­tails. Af­ter that, tap on “Down­load” to start the process. Note that for TV shows, you will want to se­lect the episode you want to down­load and then look for the spe­cific down­load icon, which will be a down ar­row.

3. Money-back with Reload

Prime sub­scribers can take ad­van­tage of Prime Reload. You can get 2 per­cent back on pur­chases when you first load funds into your Ama­zon bal­ance us­ing a debit card that is at­tached to a check­ing ac­count.

In other words, you sup­ply the money for your own Ama­zon gift card, which you then use to pur­chase items. For ex­am­ple, you could load $500 into an Am- azon gift card us­ing the Reload pro­gram and then re­ceive a gift card that’s worth $510.

4. Free ed­i­tor’s choice book ev­ery month

Warm up your Kin­dle; you’ve got some free read­ing to do. The Ama­zon Prime Read­ing First Reads ben­e­fit is your ticket to check out a new book. Prime Read­ing is Ama­zon’s ver­sion of an on­line li­brary stocked with a se­lec­tion of books and mag­a­zines. You can ac­cess Prime Read­ing through a Kin­dle e-reader or the Kin­dle app.

First Reads is a se­lec­tion of six ed­i­tor’s-choice books. Prime mem­bers can pick one to read free each month. Chances are good you’ll find an op­tion that will draw your in­ter­est. A re­cent list in­cluded a thriller, a gothic mur­der story, a his­tor­i­cal novel, a true­crime book, a young-adult book and a cute kid’s book about a duck.

5. Prod­uct sam­ples and dis­counts

If you want some­thing tan­gi­ble to show for your mem­ber­ship, check out Ama­zon’s Sam­ple Box pro­gram. You choose from a se­lec­tion of theme boxes and re­ceive a credit for fu­ture pur­chases of el­i­gi­ble items re­lated to that box.

For ex­am­ple, Ama­zon has of­fered a lux­ury skin care box stocked with per­fume, ex­fo­li­at­ing gel, mois­tur­izer and skin serum sam­ples for $19.99. You get to try out ev­ery­thing in­cluded in the box and also re­ceive a $19.99 credit to­ward lux­ury beauty prod­ucts sold by Ama­zon. So, if you like some­thing in the box, you can use your credit to­ward a full­size ver­sion of the prod­uct or other sim­i­lar items in that cat­e­gory.

Sam­ple boxes aren’t just for beauty sup­plies; Ama­zon of­ten of­fers snack food, pet food and nu­tri­tion and well- ness-themed boxes as well.

6. De­liv­er­ies to your car

Pack­age theft from porches is a grow­ing prob­lem as op­por­tunis­tic thieves snatch up Ama­zon cus­tomers’ de­liv­er­ies. The re­tailer is tak­ing a cre­ative new ap­proach to deal­ing with the is­sue by of­fer­ing a ser­vice called Ama­zon Key In-Car De­liv­ery. In-Car De­liv­ery works with sup­ported mod­els of ve­hi­cles, in­clud­ing 2015 or newer ve­hi­cles from Buick, GMC, Cadil­lac, Chevro­let, and Volvo that have an ac­tive con­nected car ser­vice plan such as OnS­tar. You can set up the in-car op­tion through the Ama­zon Key app. Ama­zon de­liv­ery agents will then drop off your pack­ages in your car, though it must be parked at an ac­ces­si­ble, ground-level lo­ca­tion.

7. Try be­fore you buy clothes

Ama­zon Prime Wardrobe lets you use your own home as a dress­ing room. Prime Wardrobe works by you fill­ing a box with three or more items of el­i­gi­ble cloth­ing, shoes or ac­ces­sories, up to a max­i­mum of eight.

Ama­zon ships you the box and you get a week to try on the clothes at your leisure. You can then keep the pieces you like, pay for them and ship the rest back to Ama­zon us­ing a pre­paid la­bel at no ad­di­tional cost.

8. Free ship­ping at other sites, too

One of Ama­zon Prime’s siren calls has al­ways been free ship­ping, but it’s not re­stricted to just Ama­zon.com. Ama­zon ac­quired pop­u­lar deal-of-the-day site Woot in 2010. Prime’s free stan­dard ship­ping ex­tends to Woot pur­chases.

Fash­ion­istas also will be happy to learn the clothes-fo­cused Ama­zon sub- sidiary Shop­bop is part of the free Prime ship­ping fam­ily, and you get free re­turns, too. You can get your de­signer brand fix and free Ama­zon ship­ping through East Dane, which is sim­i­lar to Shop­bop, but fo­cused on men’s fash­ion. Among Woot, Shop­Bop and East Dane, your on­line shop­ping hori­zons with bonus ship­ping perks have just ex­panded.

9. Free mag­a­zines, pod­casts, and au­dio­books

Whether you’re look­ing to en­ter­tain or in­form your­self, you can find Prime perks that will sat­isfy you. Here’s how to get free read­ing and lis­ten­ing ma­te­rial through your Ama­zon mem­ber­ship. Mag­a­zines: Ama­zon Prime Read­ing is your go-to source for free ac­cess to is­sues of pop­u­lar mag­a­zines, in­clud­ing Vogue, Bon Ap­petit, Pop­u­lar Me­chan­ics, Esquire and Bet­ter Homes & Gar­dens. Just start at the Prime Read­ing page to browse the mag­a­zines that are in­cluded with your mem­ber­ship. Pod­casts and au

dio­books: Audi­ble is a di­vi­sion of Ama­zon that’s best known for pro­vid­ing au­dio­books, but Ama­zon also uses it to de­liver a ser­vice called Audi­ble Channels. Ama­zon doesn’t specif­i­cally re­fer to Channels’ of­fer­ings as “pod­casts,” but that’s es­sen­tially what they are.

You will need to down­load the Audi­ble app to get started with Channels. Open the app, tap on the menu and choose Channels for Prime. Here, you can choose from a va­ri­ety of short-form au­dio pro­grams that ex­plore sketch com­edy, mu­sic cul­ture, world his­tory and news.

Speak­ing of pod­casts, I’m there too. Just say, “Alexa, play the Ko­mando on De­mand pod­cast.”

AMA­ZON

Dur­ing the hol­i­days, you’ll be us­ing the Ama­zon Prime ben­e­fit of free ship­ping like crazy.

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