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Amazon Prime vs. How the Online Shopping Giants Match Up

Aug. 10, 2016
Product Comparisons, Shopping, Shopping News
Making the Most of the Amazon Prime Store Card
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Many online shoppers care most about two things: low prices and fast shipping.

Amazon, the online giant, promises both to members of its popular Prime subscription service, but a new shopping marketplace,, aims to give loyal Amazon customers an alternative.

We put Amazon Prime head to head with up-and-coming e-commerce membership site to see how they compare.

The competitors

Amazon Prime was announced in 2005. Since then, the membership service has developed a strong following. In July of this year, Amazon hosted a Black Friday-esque Amazon Prime Day event with 24 hours’ worth of deals exclusively for members.

Jet, on the other hand, entered the online shopping game in 2014. The site was created by Marc Lore, co-founder of and former CEO of its parent company Quidsi, which Amazon acquired for more than $500 million in 2011. Lore’s latest venture takes aim at Amazon with a competitive, consumer-focused setup.

Here’s a quick look at how the two services differ.

Amazon Prime
Membership $99/year $0
Free Trial 30-day free trial n/a
Shipping Free 2-day shipping on eligible products (free same-day on qualifying orders in eligible regions) Free 2-5 day shipping on orders over $35
Full details See Amazon Prime See

[There’s another competitor in this space, too. See how Amazon Prime and Google Express stack up.]


At Amazon, Prime members can choose from several shipping options. Members can receive free two-day shipping on eligible products. For a faster alternative, the site offers free same-day delivery on qualifying orders over $35 in 28 metro areasIf your order is less than $35, you’ll be charged $5.99 for this service.

Jet gives shoppers free two- to five-day shipping on orders over $35, plus faster 2-day shipping on certain items. For orders less than $35, customers pay a $5.99 shipping charge. At the time of this writing, Jet doesn’t have a same-day delivery option.

[Wal-Mart has similar shipping policies as Amazon Prime, but at a lower membership fee. Check out how Wal-Mart’s ShippingPass and Amazon Prime compare.]


Amazon sells a wide variety of items, including books, music, food and electronics. Some products are sold and shipped directly by the site, whereas others are supplied by third-party sellers.

Jet, too, sells an assortment of items, including household goods, pet supplies and furniture. As part of the Jet Anywhere program, Jet members can earn JetCash (reward incentives that can be used as payment) to spend on when they make purchases at certain brands outside of Jet, including Nike and Petco. You’ll need to have your qualifying purchase verified to earn your JetCash. See the retailer’s Jet Anywhere program for more detailed information.


Both Amazon and Jet offer more than just fast shipping and access to tons of products. There are extras too. To help you judge the ones that are best for you, we compiled some of the major selling points of each program.

With Amazon Prime, members can get such services as unlimited streaming of certain movies and TV episodes, unlimited access to more than a million songs, unlimited photo storage in Amazon Cloud Drive, 30-minute early access to the site’s limited-time Lightning Deals and free returns on most items within 30 days.

Jet’s services include free returns within 30 days, 24/7 customer care, member savings with every item you add to your cart (plus additional savings when you purchase products designated as “Smart” items together, e.g., eligible toilet paper and paper towels) and discounts when you waive returns on products.


Which site features the lowest prices? It depends on what you’re buying. We highlighted a handful of items that you may be shopping for so you can see how the prices compare.

Product Amazon Prime
Shark Navigator Freestyle Vacuum (SV1106) $81.61 here $81.61 here
Fitbit Charge Small Black $128.44 here $119.99 here
Scott Extra Soft Double Roll, 24 Count $18.30 here $13.29 here
Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker, BVMC-ECX41CP $39.06 here $48.65 here
Graco Verb Click Connect Stroller in Fern $124.95 here $111.99 here


If joining a shopping membership program comes down to dollars and cents for you, Jet comes out on top. Jet removed its annual fee and members retained the same savings benefits. Amazon, on the other hand, offers a 30-day trial period and costs $99 a year.

NerdWallet takes you shopping

For the fastest possible shipping of your online purchases and a lot of bonuses (unlimited music and movie streaming, anyone?), opt for Amazon Prime,  especially if you live in one of the metro areas that qualify for same-day delivery. 

If shipping isn’t as important, but buying in bulk is, we recommend trying out Jet, where savings add up the more you buy. Wal-Mart recently announced plans to acquire Jet, so changes may be on the horizon. Despite the shift, you have nothing to lose, because with no membership fee, Jet guarantees savings that won’t cost you.

This post was updated Aug. 10, 2016. It was originally published Sept. 15, 2015.

Courtney Jespersen is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @courtneynerd.