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6 Amazon Prime benefits you need to use for holiday shopping

You don't want to shop for gifts without knowing about these Prime benefits.

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Your Amazon Prime benefits make shopping easier.

Sarah Tew/CNET
This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2019, your source for the season's best gifts and deals, hand-picked by the experts at CNET.

You shopped Cyber Monday and Black Friday deals, but now it's time to finish up your holiday shopping. And if you've got an Amazon Prime membership, you'll want to know how to take full advantage of the benefits. Plus, you'll want these details ingrained to memory before you start buying gifts.

While you probably know you can get free two-day shipping as a Prime member, did you know you can also get packages sooner, or schedule a delivery date that's more convenient for you?

December is one of the biggest shopping months of the year, with retailers fighting for your dollar through sales and perks. Amazon's enormous catalog, loyal subscriber base and massive shipping empire put it in a position to be extra aggressive in getting your business. Here are all the ways the Prime membership you already have can help you shop today.

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Schedule a convenient shipping date during checkout with Amazon Day.

James Martin/CNET

Schedule a convenient shipping date for your package

Everyone knows about Amazon's free two-day shipping, but another option is to choose a delivery date during checkout. It's called Amazon Day and it's helpful if there's a specific day you know someone will be at home to answer for packages -- especially if it's something pricey that you don't want to risk sitting outside unattended. 

If you order multiple items on different days, you can have them delivered on the same day as long as they're eligible for this offer.

Use your Amazon Echo to help track packages

If you have an Amazon Echo of any kind, you can use it to track your orders. 

Just say "Alexa, where's my package?" and your Echo will let you know where it is and when it'll arrive. Once your order has been delivered, the Echo's ring light will pulse yellow and if you have the Echo Show, the delivery notification will appear on the screen.

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Use any Amazon Echo to track your packages.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Shop Early Access deals before non-Prime members

If something you've been eyeing says "Prime Early Access," as a Prime member, you can shop that sale 30 minutes before non-Prime members. However, you'll have to compete with other members who are also interested in the product before it sells out.

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Use Prime Now to get what you ordered in a couple of hours

If there's a product you want same-day, you can see if it's available in Prime Now. Amazon will deliver from morning until evening, so you won't have to worry about receiving your order at 3 a.m. 

This way of shopping is nifty for when you really need to go to the grocery, but can't risk losing out on that new item, like a fresh Echo device that might go on sale. Prime Now isn't available in all locations, so enter your ZIP code at primenow.amazon.com to see if you're eligible.

Share your Prime perks with family

If you've got another adult living in your household, like a significant other or friend, you can share your Prime membership with them. You'll still be able to keep your personal accounts separate, which is helpful if you're shopping for the holidays, but you'll both have access to all the same Prime benefits. 

You can also share your account with up to four teens and up to four children in your household. While they'll have their own logins, you can still manage their profiles.

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Amazon employees can leave a package inside your house with Amazon Key.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Amazon can leave your package inside your house

When you know you're not going to be home for a while and you've got a shipment on the way, it's much safer to have an Amazon employee leave your items inside your house to avoid theft. 

If you have the Amazon Key Home Kit, you can request to have your expensive packages left in your home, and even your vehicle or garage, for free. The kit itself costs $290 and comes with a cloud cam and a smart lock, so you'll be in charge of letting the delivery person in and can watch as it's happening.

If you're wary of letting a complete stranger in your home, keep in mind that you'll also receive notifications during the entire process. 

Originally published last month.