30 Amazon Hacks & Prime Perks That Will Save You Time & Money

By on February 16, 2016

If you are spending money on Amazon, there are plenty of ways to save your money (and time) when shopping. We’ve put together a list of thirty Amazon-specific and Amazon Prime-specific hacks & perks to take advantage of. Check it out:

amazon-perks-hacks

1. Convert your old prepaid gift cards into Amazon gift cards

If you have a prepaid gift card with a low balance, like a $50 Visa card that’s been used to pay for a $47.33 purchase leaving $2.67 on the card, you can convert that into an Amazon gift card for yourself fairly easily. This is particularly useful if the prepaid card expires or devalues after a set time. Here are the steps:

  1. Check the exact card balance using the number / site on the back of the card.
  2. Log into Amazon and head over to an email delivery gift card, like this one.
  3. Enter the exact card balance, enter an email address of yours, send and use your payment card.
  4. After receiving the code via email, click “Apply a Gift Card to Your Account” in the Your Account section.

2. Get a refund if the price drops on TVs (within 30 days)

EDIT: Amazon used to offer price adjustment refunds on all products within 7 days. That is no longer an option as of early May 2016. It’s only on TVs now.

If the price drops on a television you’ve purchased within 30 days, you have the option of requesting a refund on the price difference from Amazon. This policy is specific to items both sold and shipped by Amazon. It can’t be used on items sold by a third-party site and fulfilled by Amazon.

amazon-refund-status

To receive the discount, simply visit this page and your most recent order should be pulled up. You can choose to contact Amazon by email, phone or chat. Chat is probably the fastest way to get the refund, but email is ideal if you don’t have time to chat with a rep.

3. Track price drops with CamelCamelCamel

If you don’t have time to check your purchases for price drops or simply want to be alerted when a product hits a desired price, set an alert at CamelCamelCamel (or in the Chrome extension). It’s all they do, track price changes on Amazon products, and they do it really well.

By the way, if you want a deal alert from all retailers on the product you are looking for, be sure to set one on Ben’s. We track the lowest price across all retailers on the Web, not just Amazon.

4. Learn how to utilize Subscribe & Save effectively

Typically found on items within the grocery section of Amazon, the Subscribe & Save offer is basically a subscription to a set delivery schedule of an item. For instance, if you need 12 rolls of toilet paper every month, this is an easy way to set it and forget it.

amazon-subscribe-save

Discounts for a subscription are set at 5%, with a possible bonus rate between 10% to 30% on your first order. However, if you subscribe to five or more items, you will qualify for a permanent 15% discount each time those five products ship. When used effectively, it can save you a significant amount of money and shopping time over an entire year.

5. Check the third-party sellers list for greater discounts

If a product is completely unavailable from Amazon (as a seller), Amazon will display a featured third-party seller; typically one that’s fulfilled by Amazon. Of course, the best price may still be buried in the third-party sellers list. Search through it to find a better deal on the same product.

6. Back-ordered doesn’t mean unavailable

Also found in the third-party sellers list, Amazon will automatically bury their first party order link (when back-ordered) if any third party seller can beat Amazon on shipping time.

half-the-price-back-order-amazon

However, that doesn’t mean you will be getting the best price. You can still order the product from Amazon using the the third-party sellers list, as long as you don’t mind waiting the extra shipping time for the best price.

7. Don’t forget to check for clickable coupons

If you are shopping in the grocery section of Amazon, be sure to look for coupons that can be clicked on the main product page. Similar to paper coupons, the discounts usually range from $0.25 to $5 and will automatically show up in your cart when the purchase is made.

8. Find Your Recently Viewed Items

Can’t remember what products you were browsing while at work earlier? Check your list of recently viewed items, specific to your Amazon account. Amazon keeps track of this, likely to send out emails related to recently viewed items.

recently-viewed-amazon

Of course, if you don’t want Amazon tracking you, you can click the Manage History arrow on the page, then toggle the Toggle Browsing History option off. That selection is specific to device, so it will have to be repeated on all devices you own.

9. Find your Digital Purchases easily

Different from your main account history, Amazon splits up all your digital media purchases into different libraries.

  • Want to watch purchased video? Go here.
  • Want to view / re-download PC video games / software? Go here.
  • Want to listen to purchased music? Go here.
  • Want to view / re-download the Android apps you’ve purchased? Go here.

10. Use Amazon Coin promotions to snag free credit for apps

Ideal if you are using a Kindle tablet, Kindle Fire or the Android platform on your smartphone, Amazon Coins can be spend on apps on Amazon (100 coins for $1). A few times a year, Amazon will offer Amazon Coins with the purchase of free apps; thus increasing your available store credit. To see your current Amazon Coins balance, just load any premium app product page.

11. Opt out of Amazon personalized Ads / Emails

Using your recently viewed items as well as your purchase history, Amazon likes to tailor ads specific to you on the shopping site. If you think that’s creepy or simply aren’t interested, you can flip it off on this page.

amazon-special-offer-email

Once again, this is device and browser specific. So if you browse on your smartphone or use another Web browser on your computer, you will have to repeat this process. Regarding email subscriptions, you can turn subscriptions to specific product feeds on and off on this page.

12. Want Add-On items, but don’t want to spend $25?

The add-on item program launched a few years ago, basically classifying groups of items that Amazon will lose money on by shipping separately. Amazon wants you to spend at least $25 to qualify for shipping these items.

However, there is a workaround. If you are planning on pre-ordering entertainment media, a game like Fallout 4 or a Blu-ray like Avengers: Age of Ultron, you can add that onto your order to raise the minimum without actually being charged for it. Amazon doesn’t charge for preorders until shipping time. Of course, if you change your mind about the pre-order after receiving your package of add-ons, you can always cancel the pre-order without any repercussions.

13. Textbooks on Amazon may be cheaper in other countries

It’s no secret that sites like Amazon and Chegg are taking a bite out of the predatory college bookstore market. However, there’s another trick if you want even greater discounts on a specific textbook.

cheapriver-textbook-search

Use a site called Cheap River to search Amazon’s international sites for prices on the same book. While minor differences in the chapter questions may happen, the textbooks will be in English and largely identical to the American version of the book.

14. Shipping delayed? Get a replacement item shipped out ASAP

If your package has been held up beyond the delivery date, you can contact Amazon to receive a shipping upgrade. If the shipping company can’t find the package at all, a replacement package will be shipped to you from Amazon with next-day shipping.

15. Want to know where your orders are? Use Text Alerts

Limited to texting between 7 am and 8 pm Pacific Time, Amazon customers can sign up for text alert messages on the status of their packages on this page. Updates include when a product is shipped as well as an alert to expect a delivery that day.

16. Need to let the relatives know what to get the kids? Use Amazon Kids’ Birthdays

Basically a wishlist for someone that doesn’t have an Amazon account, Amazon Kids’ Birthdays lets you create wishlists for your child’s next birthday. These lists can be easily distributed to family and friends to simplify the gift buying process.

amazon-kids-birthdays

In addition, Amazon provides product recommendations based on interest categories. This could be ideal when trying to search for gift ideas for a child.

17. Look for deeper discounts on Amazon Warehouse / Outlet

While Amazon Warehouse is limited to open box / refurbished items, you can often find amazing discounts on popular products. We’ve ordered from Amazon Warehouse before and received refurbished items in impeccable condition.

Amazon Outlet contains new items, but these items are usually out of season or possibly discontinued by the manufacturer. Many times, this is also where Amazon Gold Box items are pulled from.

amazon-prime-perks-hacks

18. Didn’t receive your shipment in 2 days? How about a free month of Prime?

If you received your shipment beyond the promised 2-day shipping speed, contact Amazon customer service. They will typically add a free month of Prime (a $8.25 value) on your current subscription. They may also offer a monetary credit for the trouble instead of the free month.

19. Expecting a baby? Amazon Mom is free for Prime members

Amazon Mom is a cool perk for expecting and new mothers that offers a 20 percent discount on diapers in the Subscribe & Save program. In addition, expecting moms can receive a 15% discount on all baby registry items within 60 days of the expected due date.

amazon-mom

On top of that, Amazon Mom members will receive member-exclusive coupons on baby-related items, have access to exclusive reviews written by Amazon Mom members and earn a $10 Amazon credit for each mom they help enroll in the program.

20. Do you take pictures? Use your unlimited storage perk

Using cloud storage, Amazon Prime members can archive their entire photo collection for free with Amazon Cloud Drive. There’s no limitations on file size or volume of photos, making it ideal for amateur photographers that need a place to backup their media. Be aware that professional photographers should look for another service as Amazon states that the service cannot be used to “operate a photography business” in the terms of service.

amazon-cloud-drive

In addition, Prime customers will receive 5GB of additional space to store videos or any other type of file in the cloud. Video and photo content can be accessed anywhere using the iOS or Android apps, ideal when showing media to friends and family.

21. Like watching TV? Check out Prime Originals on Amazon Instant Video

Similar to Netflix, Amazon provides a library of streaming content to watch for no additional cost. This includes a large selection of older content, including HBO shows, as well as Prime Originals. While the original content isn’t the same caliber as Netflix yet, there are a handful of high quality shows in the mix, exclusive to Amazon.

To take advantage of Amazon Instant Video, you can watch on the Web or download the app on compatible devices like tablets, video game consoles, smart televisions and set-top boxes. You can find the full list of compatible hardware here.

22. Like listening to music? There are one million free tracks on Prime Music

Similar to Amazon Instant Video, Prime Music offers access to more than one million songs to listen to for no additional cost. While competition like Spotify offers a significantly larger library, Prime Music is a solid perk that’s not costing you anything beyond the Prime membership fee.

Amazon-Prime-Music

Be aware that you can only stream from Prime music to one device at a time. You can download music to listen to on up to four devices though. You can find a full list of Prime music compatible devices here.

23. Like reading books? Snag 1 book each month from the Kindle Lending Library

While Amazon does offer a $10-a-month subscription service for books (Kindle Unlimited), the Kindle Lending Library is a program for Prime subscribers that are also Kindle owners (the e-reader or the tablet). Prime users can download 1 book each month for free, including all the Harry Potter books.

In addition, there’s an advanced reading program called Kindle First. Prime members can download one of six featured books each month for free that haven’t even been released yet. It’s a great way to read a pre-release book before it hits stores.

24. Share your Amazon Prime account with your significant other

If you weren’t aware, Amazon recently changed the sharing rules on Prime. However, you can still share your Prime account with one other adult in your household. That person will be able to access 2-day shipping as well as all the extra perks of Prime.

amazon-prime-account-sharing

Be aware that all credit and debit cards associated with the two accounts can be viewed by the other party and copied from one account to the other. So if you don’t want your roommate having access to your cards, don’t share the account.

25. Want to upgrade your shipping speed on the cheap? Order items separately

While this tactic is YMMV depending on product volume / weight, it’s proven to be effective as Amazon often combines orders to save money on shipping costs. When you are ready to make a purchase, order items separately, but consecutively.

For example, if you want one-day shipping on all the items, pay the $3.99 fee for one-day shipping on one item and leave the rest at free two-day shipping. It’s likely that you will receive one package the next day with everything inside. This also can work by downgrading to the no-rush shipping to earn credits for Amazon video, music, ebooks and Prime Pantry.

26. Want an even better price? Get the Amazon Store Card for an additional 5% off

Exclusive to Amazon Prime subscribers, anyone with the Amazon Store Card will receive five percent back in the form of a credit at the end of each billing period. While other credit cards offer a similar bonus, there’s no promotional periods to sign up for. It’s just 5% on all purchases all year.

amazon-prime-store-card-benefits

Of course, the interest rate on that card is INSANE, much like any retailer store card. Be sure to pay off the card immediately in order to avoid being charged with excessive interest. If you prefer a different card, check out the Barclaycard Sallie Mae Rewards card or the Chase Freedom card for similar discounts.

27. Hate visiting the grocery store? Take Prime Pantry for a test drive

Different from the Amazon Fresh food delivery service, Prime Pantry is a service that ships a large box of perishable and non-perishable grocery store items. Basing the shipment off the available space in the box. Prime members pay a flat $6 fee to ship pretty much anything you would find at your local grocery store.

28. Prime Members often receive exclusive discounts / prices on Amazon hardware

This is something of an unadvertised perk. Amazon will often provide significant discounts on both unreleased hardware and current hardware. For instance, the Amazon Echo was initially offered to Prime members for 50% off the $200 MSRP. The same happened for the Fire TV stick prior to release.

amazon-echo

In addition, Amazon will display exclusive coupons on the home page that are tied specifically to your Prime account. Last week, Amazon ran a $10 of $75 coupon on Prime Pantry. During early August, Amazon offered a $50 off coupon on the price of the Kindle Voyage.

29. Are you a broke college student? Get six months of Prime for free

Calling the service Amazon Student, kids in college can take advantage of free two-day shipping on all purchases for six months without paying for Prime. The other benefits of Prime, like photo storage or Amazon Instant Video, will be locked out until they upgrade to full Prime.

However, students can upgrade at 50% off the normal rate as well as earn a $10 referral credit for each friend that signs up for the service. That 50% discount will remain active until a student graduates from college.

30. Be on alert for exclusive access to hot deals

While Amazon tried to take advantage of this concept with Amazon Prime Day during July, it was something of a bust. However, that doesn’t mean it won’t get better during Black November! Be on the lookout for Lightning deals that launch 30 minutes earlier for Prime members leading up to Black Friday.

What’s your best Amazon hack? Tell us in the comments below!

About Mike Flacy

By day, I'm the Editor-in-Chief for The CheckOut in addition to being the content manager for Steve's Digicams and High-Def Digest. During my free time, I love to write about pop culture, home theater, digital photography, social media, mobile technology and cool gadgets!

11 Comments

  1. JULIE E HEDGES

    October 27, 2016 at 7:38 am

    You stated in “#20 Do you take pictures? Use your unlimited storage perk” that it’s great for amateur and professional photographers. Unfortunately, that’s not true. According to the TERMS, under 1.2 “You may use the Services only to store, retrieve, manage, organize, and access Your Files for NON-COMMERCIAL purposes. You may NOT use the Services to store, transfer, or distribute content to operate a photography business.”

    • Mike Flacy

      October 27, 2016 at 10:02 am

      Great point! The article was adjusted.

  2. Lisa V

    October 13, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    Here’s another tip. Shop for just Add-On Prime Items. They are usually much cheaper, but Amazon made it hard to search for just those. I found a website primeaddons.com that can narrow down items to just Add-Ons.

  3. Wesley Webb

    September 22, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    Ok, I came upon something there was a remote control car that was 1.20$ and the original price is 65$ I remembered how I done it but they shipped to the wrong place, this was false advertising and they refunded me without taking to me?

  4. Lueronda

    August 24, 2016 at 6:48 am

    Wow this is so informative! Thank you for all the information contained, especially about Bens and Camel site! Thank you again.

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  7. Doug Dingle

    February 16, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    That $1 credit for choosing the world’s slowest shipping EXPIRES, which is something you don’t find out until they email it to you.

    So if you really need that $1 credit on music purchases in exchange for waiting a VERY long time for your package, choose that.

    Otherwise, forget it.

    It’s kind of a scam that they don’t mention that it expires, and REALLY pissed me off when I saw it.

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  9. Saver

    August 23, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    Great list! For me the amazon warehouse is the best money saver by far. I use TheForklift.net to watch the deal stream and email price alert.

  10. Mike

    August 23, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    Great tips! Thanks

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