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Amazon extends free shipping offer to items purchased by Dec. 18

Amazon Prime customers in some cities will also be able to get free same-day delivery up until midnight on Christmas Eve.

Amazon has good news for last-minute holiday shoppers: the internet retailer said Thursday it's extending its free shipping without a minimum purchase until Dec. 18 for items that arrive in time for Christmas.

And for Amazon Prime customers who really like to procrastinate, Amazon said it will offer free two-hour delivery right up to midnight on Christmas Eve -- just as Santa is shimmying down your chimney -- in the more than 30 cities served by the ultraspeedy Prime Now delivery service. More than 10,000 cities in the US now have access to Amazon's free same-day delivery and one-day shipping, the company said Thursday.

"Prime was built on the foundation of unlimited fast, free shipping, and we keep working to add faster and even more convenient delivery options," Amazon Prime VP Cem Sibay said in a statement.

Prime is one of the company's most important businesses, helping build loyal, repeat customers who tend to spend about twice as much with Amazon as do non-Prime shoppers. 

Amazon Prime subscribers, who pay $119 for perks such as free shipping and access to music, movies and TV shows, purchased more than 2 billion items on the site with one-day or faster delivery, the internet retailer said earlier this month.

Some other key shipping dates Amazon announced Thursday:

Dec. 18: Last day for standard shipping, free for Prime members

Dec. 22: Last day for two-day shipping, free for Prime members

Dec. 23: Last day for one-day shipping, free for Prime members in eligible areas

Dec. 24: Last day for same-day delivery, free for Prime members in eligible areas (order by 9:30 a.m. local time or earlier)

Dec. 24: Prime Now offers free two-hour delivery windows, reserved exclusively for Prime members in eligible areas (order by 9:15 p.m. local time or earlier)

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