Ask LH: Does Amazon Australia Really Offer Free Shipping?

Ask LH: Does Amazon Australia Really Offer Free Shipping?
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Dear Lifehacker, I have a few friends’ birthdays coming up so figured I’d give Amazon Australia a try. I was particularly intrigued by the free delivery offer for orders over $49 – this means I can order multiple presents in one go and not get slugged with any shipping fees. Or so I thought.

When I went to place my order which totalled $57.97, I was still charged a delivery fee. I was told I had to spend another $21 to qualify for free shipping. What gives? Also, how much leeway do I need to give to ensure my presents arrive on time? Thanks, Pete The Penny-Pincher

Dear PTPP,

Amazon does indeed offer free delivery on orders over $49. However, there are a few caveats you need to be aware of. The kicker is that the offer only applies to eligible items. Unfortunately, not every item is eligible, even if the total exceeds $49.

Here’s what Amazon Australia has to say on its website (emphasis ours):

All orders of $49 or more of eligible items across any product category qualify for free delivery within Australia.

To place a free-delivery order online, do the following –

  • Add at least $49 of eligible items to your Shopping Cart. Any item that is sold and fulfilled by Amazon AU and has ‘FREE Delivery’ eligibility messaging on the product detail page is eligible and contributes to your free delivery order minimum of at least $49.
  • Proceed to checkout.
  • Ship your items to a single address in Australia.
  • Select Group my items into as few deliveries as possible as your delivery preference.
  • Select Free Delivery as your delivery speed.

In other words, the items need to be flagged as eligible and sold by Amazon to qualify. The good news is that a bunch of items do fit the bill. Typically, it’s smaller stuff from third-party sellers that won’t add towards your total.

As for delivery times, Amazon currently promises 3-to-7 business days for Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra and Perth. The same applies for major cities and regional areas of Victoria, NSW and South Australia. Everywhere else needs to wait 7-to-10 business days, except remote areas of NT, QLD, WA, SA and TAS which may need to wait even longer.

If time gets away, you can also purchase Priority Delivery for an additional fee of $9.99. This should get your purchase to your door within 48 hours. (For added peace of mind, Amazon provides a “guaranteed delivery date” on both Priority and Expedited shipping which is visible before you complete your order.)

Here is Amazon’s delivery schedules in a nice table:


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This story has been updated since its original publication.


  • There is no such thing as free delivery. “Free delivery” is a hook. The cost of delivery gets factored in somewhere. Unless, of course, Amazon has found a bunch of couriers to work for free?

    • In other countries the cost of delivery commonly gets factored into the money you save not having a physical presence.

      Here we never really got that. Far too many retailers were happy to charge the same online as in store and whack delivery on top.

      Even when they don’t, It’s pretty common here for retailers to make money on the delivery charge as an extra. When delivery is included in the price, its easier to compare prices do harder to make extra on a hidden charge you won’t see until checkout.

      • Exactly this. Too many people have been accepting aussie retailer’s rip-off delivery charges for too long.

        Those guys see fit to charge delivery charges wildly above what the carrier charges them. And that’s on top of the price being the same as in-store.
        And they’ve saved on having to move the item to store themselves, train sales personnel on it, man the store, cool/heat/power the store, rent, rates, security, insurance, bags, cash handling and who-knows how many other overheads that they’ve not incurred by selling online.

        The idea that “free delivery” is a “hook” is a long way off… In offering it for online purchases the retailers don’t take nearly as much of a hit as @justin_in_the_se may suppose they do. Retailers have been only too happy to keep exorbitant delivery “charges” in place because, quite simply, they could. There was no Amazon-like competition.
        Let’s see how they change…. JB Hi-Fi offering same-day delivery is but the start of a change of attitude in favour of the consumer.

      • depends which are these “other countries” you’re referring to… some countries the cost of postage is low. In Australia cost of postage is relatively high due to high minimum wage and sparsely distributed population.

    • Whilst the Amazon AU website does not specifically exclude deliveries to PO boxes it all depends upon where you live. As a resident of Canberra I assumed that a PO Box delivery would work but no – Fastway Couriers has no relationship with Australia Post which means that a street address is the only way for me to receive physical goods from Amazon AU. Mind you I have no issues ordering most exportable physical goods from Amazon in the US and have deliveries received at a PO Box. The likely exceptions will be Amazon Fire, Amazon Echo, etc. If you live in Sydney or Melbourne then the chances are that Australia Post will be the delivery agent but to be sure I recommend that you speak to someone at Amazon AU (be it on the phone or via a chat session).

      NB: Fastway provide an appalling service for deliveries that cannot be made and that may deter buyers from dealing with Amazon AU. Go Kogan!

  • You know what delivery costs really get on my goat?? Stores that are ONLY online, have products that start at $80 and still charge of postage unless you spend $150. ARGH! Clearly factoring in the shipping into the overall cost shouldn’t be an issue.

    • Mid February is around the time retailers release their Christmas period sales figures.
      If Google search data is anything to go off Amazon didn’t have a very good time.

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