Your luck is almost out if you want free delivery of a holiday present. At many retailers with no-cost shipping options, it’s too late to qualify for such delivery by Christmas.
But before you pony up for expedited shipping, check out e-commerce giant Amazon. Depending on how much you buy, you might be able to order from Amazon as late as Christmas Eve and receive the package the same day for free.
These options are available to Prime members. If you don’t have such a membership, don’t worry: Just sign up for the free 30-day Prime trial.
Take it from the vice president of Amazon Prime himself, Greg Greeley. He said in a recent announcement:
“Even if you are not currently a member, holiday shoppers can try Prime for free for 30 days and get two-day, one-day and same-day shipping for free.”
If you take advantage of the free trial but don’t want to be charged for the Prime membership, simply cancel it before the trial ends. You’ll still be able to take advantage of these delivery options this week:
Prime Same-Day and Prime One-Day
Prime Same-Day and Prime One-Day are the fastest true shipping options Amazon offers.
Not all items sold on Amazon can be shipped this way, though more than 1 million can. Look for items marked with the “Prime FREE Same-Day” or “Prime FREE One-Day” logo in product descriptions.
Here’s are the time windows:
- Prime Same-Day: If you place an order in the morning, typically before noon, you will receive it by 9 p.m. the same day. Orders placed in the afternoon or evening will be received the next day. If you want something before Christmas Day, your last chance to place a Prime Same-Day order is Christmas Eve, according to Amazon's handy holiday shipping calendar.
- Prime One-Day: If you place an order by the afternoon, you will receive it by 9 p.m. the next day. If you want something before Christmas Day, your last chance to place a Prime One-Day order is Dec. 23, according to the calendar.
These shipping options are available only to Prime members. Also, they are only free if you order more than $35 worth of stuff that qualifies for these shipping options.
To find out if Prime Same-Day or Prime One-Day is available in your area, enter your ZIP code on Amazon’s “FREE One-Day and Same-Day” webpage. Just this month, Amazon expanded these shipping options, making them available in some 8,000 cities and towns.
Prime Now is a courier service that offers delivery of certain items from Amazon and local stores within two hours. Delivery of orders from certain local restaurants is made within one hour.
You just have to place your order by 9 p.m. local time. So, if you want something before Christmas Day, your last chance to place a Prime Now order is Christmas Eve, according to Amazon's holiday shipping calendar.
Prime Now is available only to Prime members, but the service is not free. There is a delivery fee based on the size of the order.
To find out if Prime Now is available in your area, enter your ZIP code on the main Prime Now webpage. It’s now available in some 30 U.S. cities.
Other shipping options
You can also order millions of items from Amazon and receive them before Christmas Day if you opt for:
- Amazon’s standard shipping — just place the order by today (Monday, Dec. 18), according to Amazon's holiday shipping calendar
- Amazon’s two-day shipping — just place the order by Friday, Dec. 22.
Both of these options are free for Prime members who are buying eligible items.
For example, I took advantage of these free shipping options for Prime members this weekend. I did the last of my online Christmas gift shopping on Amazon around midnight Sunday, and all of it is due to hit my doorstep by Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET. So, I’ll have nearly a week to wrap those gifts.
For more examples, check out Amazon’s “Two-Day Shipping Timing Examples” page.
For more ways to save on shipping, check out “5 Easy Ways to Get Free Shipping.”
Do you know of more great ways to get products shipped for free and delivered by Christmas? Share your tips by commenting below or on our Facebook page.