Amazon Prime Day: Everything you need to know

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For anyone who loves a great deal, here comes one of the biggest online shopping events of the year: Amazon Prime Day.

This year, Prime Day will run for two full days, spanning from June 21 to 22. Knowing what you’re looking for in advance and planning your spending carefully can ensure you get the best deals on those items throughout the event without much hassle.

Here’s everything we know about Prime Day 2021 and a few tips for making the most of the sale:

What is Prime Day?

For frequent Amazon shoppers, Prime Day may be on par with Black Friday and Cyber Monday in savings potential. It’s Amazon’s biggest, most comprehensive sale of the year and reserved exclusively for Prime members.

Prime Day began in 2015 to celebrate Amazon’s 20th anniversary but it has continued and expanded each year since; a trend that experts expect will continue this year.

Since Prime Day is exclusive to Prime members, you must have a Prime membership in order to take advantage of sale prices. Memberships cost $12.99 monthly or $119 if paid annually. Students can get a six-month free trial of Prime, followed by a discounted Prime Student membership for just $6.49 per month. If you don’t yet have a membership, Amazon offers a 30-day free trial period.

Plan your shopping in advance

Prime Day deals move quickly, so it pays to plan your purchases ahead of the sale.

The most time-sensitive discounts are Prime Day Lightning Deals: discounted products that are usually limited to one per customer and only available for a few hours or until inventory is gone.

“Amazon’s app allows you to set up ‘Watch this Deal’ notifications, so you can pounce when an item you want goes on sale,” McGrath says. “Plus, Amazon stokes the Prime Day hype by announcing some deals in advance, or at least deal categories so you can prep your shopping list.”

Amazon-branded items like the Fire tablet, Echo and Kindle are all heavily discounted. You can also find steep savings on popular tech gadgets, from the Ring doorbell to Apple Watch and Nintendo Switch. Continue to check your Amazon app and the website throughout Prime Day to stay on top of sale announcements.

What to add to your Prime Day shopping list

Prime Day deals cover a vast, wide-ranging assortment of Amazon’s offerings, but there are a few mainstay categories that experts expect to see this year.

“Historically, we have seen that Amazon offers some of the biggest discounts on their own electronic devices such as Echo, Alexa, Kindle and Fire tablets,” says Sara Skirboll, shopping and trends expert at RetailMeNot. “This must-shop event is also a great opportunity to purchase other smart-home devices, TVs, appliances and get a head start on any hot toys that you may want to gift this upcoming holiday season.”

Kristin McGrath, editor and shopping expert at Offers.com, points specifically to Amazon-owned Fire TV, Echo and Ring products; in-house brands like Solimo, which makes everyday goods; Instant Pots and robot vacuums as categories to watch.

Look for sales from other retailers

As Prime Day has grown over the past few years, other retailers have also begun offering their own mid-year Black Friday sales. If you’re in the market for anything from appliances to electronics and everyday home goods, this is one of the best times all year to buy.

McGrath expects many major retailers to either have their own sales at the same time or simply price-match products with Amazon. “For customers, that means doing a quick price comparison before buying a big-ticket item, such as a TV or laptop, on Amazon. There might be a better price—or a higher-quality model at a competitive price.”

Big box retailers are offering competitive prices in direct competition with Prime Day. For example, Target is having three “deal days” from June 20 to 22 with heavy discounts on everything from electronics and home to essentials to toys, beauty and grocery products.

This competition works in your favor if you don’t have the flexibility to monitor fleeting Prime Day deals. “Customers can also rest assured that, if Amazon sells out of something popular, they have a second chance when another retailer swoops in and offers a similar deal,” McGrath says.

Use your credit cards to make the most of Prime Day

If you’re looking to spend big this Prime Day, don’t just prepare for what you’ll buy; be savvy about how you’ll make your purchases, too. Strategically using rewards credit cards can up your savings even more.

Frequent Amazon and Whole Foods shoppers looking to fully reap Prime membership benefits may find the most value in the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card.

For no annual fee (besides your Prime membership cost), you’ll earn 5 percent cash back on every purchase (6 percent during Prime Day) at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market. This year Amazon is also offering 10 percent back on select prime day products. Bankrate estimates that this card is best for shoppers who spend more than $2,000 annually with Amazon, in order to earn back the membership cost.

Cards with rotating rewards categories, like the Discover it® Cash Back, may not align with Amazon purchases this quarter, but frequent Prime buyers can still cash in when the category comes around in Q4 in time for the holiday season.

Otherwise, a flat cash-back card can offer even more flexibility. A couple of Bankrate’s top-rated cash-back options include:

If you’re in the market for a new card and plan to spend during Prime Day, you may also want to take the opportunity to cash in on a sign-up bonus. Just don’t use flashy Prime Day sales as an excuse to overspend or buy something simply because it’s discounted.

“Remember that just because it’s Prime Day and Amazon has something on sale, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best deal out there,” Skirboll says. “Do your due diligence and price compare.”

Learn more: The best credit cards for shopping on Amazon

All information about the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card has been collected independently by Bankrate and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.

Written by
Meredith Hoffman
Credit Cards Reporter
Meredith Hoffman is a personal finance writer covering credit card news and advice at Bankrate. She is originally from Columbia, S.C., and received her bachelor's degree from the Univ. of North Carolina at Wilmington. Before joining Bankrate in October 2019, Meredith worked as the news editor of Wilmington’s local newspaper, The Seahawk.
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