Fast shipping battle: We put Amazon Prime and Walmart+ to the ultimate test – The Points Guy


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We’re living in an era of instant, or nearly instant, delivery.
So how do the two biggest retailers in the U.S. by overall sales — Amazon and Walmart — compare when it comes to their expedited delivery services?
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Amazon has been a front-runner for years with its Amazon Prime service. But the advantage of having a vast selection of items delivered within a day or two (among other perks) comes at a cost. And that cost went up in late February, with the annual price of an Amazon Prime membership increasing from $119 to $139 — a nearly 17% jump.
Meanwhile, Walmart has been pushing its own mega online presence in recent years, debuting an expedited delivery subscription, dubbed Walmart+, in 2020. Subscriptions are currently priced at $98 per year — but if you have The Platinum Card® from American Express, you can get your  Walmart + membership via a monthly statement credit.
Related: How to sign up for Walmart+ complimentary with your Amex Platinum
That leads us to this big question: Can Walmart+ be a suitable alternative to (or replacement for) Amazon Prime?
To help answer that, we got four TPG staffers from across the county, each with both a Walmart+ subscription (courtesy of the Amex Platinum) and an Amazon Prime membership, to go shopping and test it out. Here’s what we discovered.
Comparing Amazon Prime and Walmart+
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of our test, let’s take a look at what each of these respective membership options gets you.
For comparison’s sake, we will only be focusing on the general availability of household and grocery items and the companies’ shipping speed and quality. We will not consider other perks, such as Amazon’s Prime Video or Walmart’s gas discounts.
Related: From private jets to Walmart credits: What has Amex done to my beloved Platinum card?
We asked four staffers from different parts of the U.S. to order the following items from both Amazon and Walmart, using their respective memberships for expedited shipping.
Household items: 
Groceries: 
By ordering the same exact items ordered at the same time, we hoped to conduct an apples-to-apples comparison (pun intended).
First, let’s take a look at the overall availability of our items on both Amazon and Walmart.com.
All four of our shoppers were able to order the non-grocery Amazon items, including face masks, COVID-19 tests and the iPhone charger. However, in all locations, the BinaxNOW brand of COVID-19 test was out of stock. Instead, Amazon suggested ordering the iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test 2-pack instead.
When it came to groceries, however, we ran into some difficulties. While our shoppers in New York and Los Angeles had no problems, our Orlando-area shopper didn’t have the option to order groceries through Amazon Prime.
Meanwhile, our Louisville-area shopper was pleasantly surprised to see Whole Foods would deliver her groceries from the closest store to her, which was 14 miles away.
When it came to Walmart+, our New York City-based shopper had no options for groceries, since there are no Walmart retail stores nearby.
However, the other shoppers had no issues ordering groceries or our list of household items — masks, charger, and the COVID-19 test.
Takeaway: Amazon and Walmart each fulfilled the non-grocery items with ease. However, since expedited grocery services rely on brick-and-mortar stores to fulfill the delivery, you’ll need to have a physical store nearby in order to use the service.
Instead of going line-by-line with each item in all four locations, let’s give you the overall takeaway based on this table of pricing in the Los Angeles area.
There were slight differences in individual item prices in the other markets, but the same trends held true across all four locations.
Takeaway: In locations where groceries are available, Walmart is slightly more affordable than Amazon’s grocery service. On the flip side, Amazon is cheaper for everyday, non-grocery household items, such as masks and iPhone chargers.
When it came to groceries, all of our shoppers received their items within the allotted window for delivery, with no complications. However, it should be noted that the eggs Walmart delivered were not protected, unlike Amazon’s delivery. In addition, Walmart used plastic bags to package its items for our four customers while Amazon used paper, which could be a sticking point for some people.
Amazon was the clear winner in terms of quickly delivering non-grocery items. All of our shoppers received their COVID-19 tests, masks and iPhone charger in two days or less.
While Walmart did quickly deliver some items, it was also plagued with several delays. Most notably, it took up to five days for face masks to be delivered in the Orlando area and four days for the iPhone charger to arrive.
All our shoppers received multiple notifications (from both Amazon and Walmart) that the deliveries were on their way.
Takeaway: For groceries, Amazon has a slight edge with its packaging and eco-friendly materials. But it’s by far the winner when it comes to providing faster and more efficient delivery of non-grocery, household items.
Overall, we found Amazon’s non-grocery prices to be more affordable and the delivery time faster than Walmart’s. But for some less picky shoppers, an extra day or two of shipping time may not matter, especially considering Walmart+ is complimentary for people who hold an Amex Platinum.
That said, your location makes a huge difference when it comes to grocery delivery. Before deciding on a specific service, check to see if your area even has any Walmart stores or Amazon Fresh and Whole Food affiliates, as that will determine what is available to you.
Again, it depends. If you are more price-conscious and have a store nearby, Walmart+ is a good alternative if you want to keep things simple. But the company still need to works out its delivery process and packaging (protect those eggs!).
Amazon Prime is pretty hard to beat in fulfillment and speed thanks to its vast, integrated network.
Walmart+ is a competitive product, but by no means a game-changer in the world of expedited delivery.
While Walmart+ can compete on price, it’s only really worthwhile in areas that have many Walmart locations, and there’s room to improve its delivery processes overall. Amazon Prime still rules in terms of choice, delivery time and customer experience. 
For someone with an Amex Platinum, it’s a no-brainer though to sign up for a Walmart+ account. At the very least, a monthly Walmart+ membership offers free and fast shipping on items from Walmart.com.
Featured photo by Emilia Wronski/The Points Guy. 
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Oops! Did you mean…
Welcome to The Points Guy!
The credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which ThePointsGuy.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Please view our advertising policy page for more information.
Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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