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Amazon Prime Day: What It Is and How to Get the Best Deals

Last updated 03/19/2024 by

Benjamin Locke

Edited by

Fact checked by

Amazon Prime Day is one of the biggest shopping events of the year, available exclusively to Amazon Prime members. For those looking to score some stellar deals on Amazon Prime Day, it’s important to understand the basic structure, such as the difference between flash deals and lightning deals. To guarantee yourself access to the most coveted items, it’s best to be prepared with things like a ranked wish list, price histories, and research beforehand.
For the past few decades, one of the busiest days during the holiday shopping season (notorious for its deals and frenzied atmosphere) was Black Friday. In 2015, however, Amazon created a competing holiday to Black Friday called Amazon Prime Day. This day would include price points and deals that were just as good or better than those offered on Black Friday by traditional brick-and-mortar outlets.
Both Amazon Prime Day and the Prime Early Access sale are two-day shopping events that are exclusive to Amazon Prime members. While you don’t need to have an Amazon Prime membership at the time of this reading, you do need to have it before the beginning of the sale day, at which point you can enjoy all the spoils that Amazon prime has to offer.
For those that already have their memberships and want a seamless Amazon Prime Day, there are some simple rules to follow to maximize your shopping success this holiday season. Keep reading to learn more about Amazon Prime Day, how to recognize a good deal, and stay on top of every deal offered.

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What is Amazon Prime Day?

Amazon Prime Day is a two-day sales event that takes place twice a year. The first is during the official Prime Day run, typically between June and July. However, you can also access these deals during Amazon Prime’s Early Access period, which is a recent addition that only started in 2022.
Prime Early Access Sale 2022Tuesday and Wednesday, October 11-12
Prime Day 2022Tuesday and Wednesday, July 12-13
Prime Day 2021Monday and Tuesday, June 21-22
Prime Day 2020Tuesday and Wednesday, October 13-14 (delayed due to the pandemic)
Prime Day 2019Monday and Tuesday, July 15-16
Prime Day 2018Monday and Tuesday, July 16-17
Prime Day 2017Monday and Tuesday, July 11-12
Prime Day 2016Tuesday, July 12
Prime Day 2015Wednesday, July 15
The sales event was launched initially in 2015 to celebrate Amazon’s 15th birthday and has continued every year since then. During these two days, Amazon Prime members are given access to amazing deals with prices comparable to Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
IMPORTANT! Since the Early Access sale is relatively new, future dates for the event may differ. That said, with previous Prime Day deals often occurring in July, there’s a good chance future Early Access dates will occur around October or November.

Is Amazon Prime Day only for Amazon Prime members?

The short answer to this question is yes, Amazon Prime Day is only available to Amazon Prime members and customers, who can also access Prime Video as well. That being said, you only need to get an Amazon Prime membership before Amazon Prime Day or Amazon Prime Day Early Access. Non-prime members are encouraged to explore what Amazon and Prime have to offer during a free trial period.
If you apply for a free trial before Amazon Prime Day, you can access Prime Day as long as it occurs within your Prime account’s 30-day free trial period. If you aren’t an Amazon Prime member, you might want to have a go at things with the free trial before Prime Day. Just make sure you cancel the account on time.
Now that you know what Prime Day is and what it offers, let’s take a look at how you can get everything on your shopping list.

1. Understand how Prime Day works

To best prepare for the horde-like Black Friday sales, you would probably want to understand the layout of the store and how the deals are structured. In the case of Amazon Prime Day, although you won’t be physically in person, you’ll still want to understand how the deals work, how to get them, and how long the deals run.
You’ll likely come across two different kinds of deals during Prime Day:
  1. Deals of the day. These are deals that exist for a single day, meaning only 24 hours. That means many deals listed on the first day of Amazon Prime Day won’t be available on the second day. Most of the time, these are for Amazon’s best-selling, most coveted items on a yearly basis.
  2. Lightening deals. Limited-time lightning deals are deals that are only available for a limited time, typically just a few hours. Sometimes the items can sell out in a few minutes if they are in-demand and well-priced products. New lightning deals will pop up on users’ screens every few minutes or so.

Rewards cards can be a double win

Getting great deals on Amazon Prime Day are that much sweeter when you pay with a rewards credit card. The Amazon Rewards Signature Visa Card, for instance, lets you earn 5% cash back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, including on Amazon Prime Day.
Looking for some other great credit cards with rewards so you can double your win? You may want to consider the options below.

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2. Make a list

Though it may not feel like it, Amazon’s stock isn’t infinite, and the most coveted items will often sell out. It’s important to make a list of coveted items that you know are on sale for Amazon Prime.
An easy way to do this is to make a list of tiers for different products. The higher the tier, the more popular and desired these products are, which means bigger savings for you. For instance, tier-1 items may include different electronics that you know will be offered at a steep discount. Whereas these items will quickly disappear, tier-2 items may be around for a bit longer, and tier-3 items may never go out of stock.
TiersItemsAmazon Prime DayTargetWalmart
Tier 1Samsung TV$400$600$750
Kindle Plus$250$350$275
Tier 2Folding coffee table$20$35$30
Plastic plants$4.99$7$9.99
Coffee and tea set$35$75$65
Tier 3Sports posters$2$10$15
BBQ knife$2$3$3
These are your top nine items, listed in tiers. Once Prime Day begins, you can knock out all the first-tier items first, proceed to the second tier, and so on. As long as you have your tiers and you check to verify the prices, you should be good to go and ready to shop when the time arises.

Pro Tip

The important part after making this list is to cross-check it with prices from other major retailers so that you know whether you paid a good price. You can then add these prices to a table like the one above to cross-reference and ensure you’re getting the best deal.

3. Keep an eye out for deals and notifications

With all of the hecticness of Amazon Prime Day, it’s easy to forget how many deals are available. Make sure that you have all of your notifications turned on all of your devices related to Amazon Prime Day. You never know when they might sell out of a product or when a lightning deal might pop up for something you are very interested in.
If you follow these steps, you can be ready and willing to dominate the playing field on Amazon Prime Day. Coming prepared with an execution plan can save a lot of headaches and sorrow for those that miss out on their most coveted Prime Day deals.

Pro Tip

Amazon’s Mobile App is a great way to compile a wish list as well as receive notifications that are important to your shopping experience. They can send you push notifications five minutes before sales start for items on your wish list.

Deals on subscriptions and additional Amazon credits

In addition to the products offered year-round, Amazon also discounts subscription prices and provides additional store credits and cashback opportunities throughout the sale. For instance, Amazon previously offered a one-year subscription to GrubHub for free if a customer purchased an Amazon Prime subscription during the Early Access sale.
Occasionally, the e-commerce giant will offer more credits or cash back on certain items than they typically would during Prime and Early Access days. Make sure to pay attention to any credit or subscription deal that might be available.


What is on sale for Amazon Prime Day?

There are a whole host of different products, subscriptions, and services discounted for Amazon Prime Day. It’s typically everything that Amazon usually has on sale, with some unique deals such as cashback and subscription products.

What is Amazon Prime Day all about?

Prime Day is about Amazon showing appreciation to both current and potential Prime members by offering amazing deals throughout the day.

Key Takeaways

  • Amazon offers both Amazon Prime Day and Amazon Early Access Prime Day. Both events last two days each.
  • Amazon Prime Day deals are only available for Amazon Prime members. However, getting a subscription to Amazon Prime is easy, and you can cancel it after your free trial period has ended.
  • It’s important to know what deals are deals of the day or lightning deals so you can get the most out of your shopping.
  • To maximize your Amazon Prime Day shopping experience, make sure to come prepared, check prices on Prime Day sales, and set your devices to receive sale alerts.

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