How to win at Amazon Prime Day 2018

Jeanine Skowronski


Jeanine Skowronski

Jeanine Skowronski

Former Head of Content at Policygenius

Jeanine Skowronski is the former head of content at Policygenius in New York City. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, American Banker Magazine, Newsweek, Business Insider, Yahoo Finance, MSN, CNBC and more.

Published July 10, 2018|4 min read

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It's the most wonderful shopping day of the year summer. Amazon Prime Day kicks off on Monday, July 16 at 3 p.m. EST and ends Wednesday, July 18 at 3 a.m. EST. That’s a full 36 hours of deals and discounts for Prime members, plus a few early bird or latecomer specials. How do you find the real deals? Here's a crib sheet for making the most out of Amazon Prime day.

1. Get a Prime membership

Amazon Prime Day is for Prime members only, so if you're going to take advantage of its deals, you need a subscription. Prime, Amazon's unlimited two-day shipping, streaming and deal service, costs $119 a year or $12.99 a month, though students and low-income Americans are eligible for a discount. Amazon offers a 30-day free trial to new subscribers, so you can take advantage of Prime Day without paying a penny. (Remember to cancel the membership before those 30 days are up, though, or you'll get auto-charged.)

If you're interested in maintaining a membership, here are 15 Amazon hacks that can help recoup the cost.

2. Shop for stuff you need ...

Don't buy discounts. In other words, if you're in the market for a new grill and you find one at a great price, by all means, take Amazon up on its offer. But don't add a hoverboard to your cart just because it's advertised at 25% off.

3. Download the Amazon app

Users can preview select Prime Day deals now through July 15 and set up notifications so they know when the promotion is live. Plus, first-time downloaders get a $10 credit when they sign in and you can unlock another $5 off select deals when you try the app's Camera features.

4. Use a price tracker

Make sure a Prime Day deal is a deal by using a site like CamelCamelCamel, which monitors Amazon prices and lets you know the best time to buy via alerts and on-site charts.

5. Comparison shop

Other retailers know what Amazon is up to and are countering with deals of their own. (Consider it Black Friday in July.) Check big competitor sites, like Walmart, Target or Best Buy, before buying an item through Amazon — or for deals in general if you're looking to make a specific purchase. It is possible to get items for less elsewhere, especially since many early Prime Day deals are focused on Amazon-specific products or services.

6. Rely on outside research

Daily deals sites, like Wirecutter or Brad's Deals, are already hard at work vetting the Prime Day previews. Keep an eye on these sites or follow them on Twitter to spot true steals as Amazon rolls out more promotions.

7. Ask Alexa

Amazon robot owners can learn about special deals and enter its "Home Smart Home" sweepstakes by asking Alexa specific questions about Prime Day or the retailer's services. Full list of prizes — and qualifying Qs — are on Amazon's website.

8. Hit up Whole Foods

Prime Day deals extend to the grocery chain, which Amazon acquired back in August 2017. In addition to lower prices on seasonal items, like strawberries and cod fillets, Prime members who spend $10 at Whole Foods July 11 through 17 can get a $10 Amazon credit to use on Prime Day. Simply scan the Prime Code in your Whole Foods or Amazon app upon check out.

Prime members who have yet to try Whole Foods free two-hour delivery through Prime Now can get $10 off their first two orders if they shop before July 17.

9. Use your Amazon credit card

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa cardholders are eligible for 10% back on up to $400 in Whole Food purchases from July 14 to July 17. Normally, they receive 5% cash back at the grocer, plus 5% back at Amazon, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores and 1% back everywhere else. (Check out these year-round Amazon Whole Food hacks.)

10. Check your inbox ...

Chances are, you have an email from the retailer highlighting some of the deals it thinks will strike your fancy, along with tips and tricks to maximize your shopping experience.

11. Be careful before you click

If an email or social media deal looks to good to be true, it probably is. Scammers like to capitalize on big online events like Prime Day to phish for personal information or download malware onto your computer.

Signs of spam scams include misspellings, bad grammar, requests for payment or personal information or fake links. Hover over a URL with your mouse to see if it's directing you someplace other than where you thought you were headed — or, better yet, ignore the link and head to retailer's website to see if the deal is legit.

Want more big brand hacks? Check out these six ways to save at AirBnB.

Image: Jorge Villalba