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Fast shipping battle: We put Amazon Prime and Walmart+ to the ultimate test

March 14 2022
9 min read
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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.

(Photo courtesy of American Express)

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?

A side-by-side comparison

FeatureAmazon PrimeWalmart+
Annual cost$139.$98 (in order to get Walmart+ complimentary with the Amex Platinum, you must select the monthly billing option, which is $12.95/month). Plus Ups are excluded.
Expedited delivery from warehousesYes.Yes.
Expedited grocery deliveryYes, Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods.Yes, Walmart retail stores and Neighborhood Market.
Covered by a credit card?No.Yes, Amex Platinum.
Streaming video with shows and moviesYes, Prime Video.No.
Early access to salesYes, 30-minute early access to Lightning Deals.Yes, exclusive Black Friday and other sales.
Discounts on fuelNo.Yes, save 5 cents per gallon on fuel at Walmart and Murphy stations.
Reading, gaming and photo storageYes.No.

The basics of our test

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.

What each shopper tried to order

Household items:

  • 1 box of 50 face masks.
  • 1 BinaxNOW COVID‐19 Antigen Self Test by Abbott (two-count).
  • 1 Apple iPhone charger (cord and plug), USB-C (generic).

Groceries:

  • 1 carton of 1% milk, 64 oz.
  • 1 dozen large brown eggs.
  • 6 Honeycrisp apples.

By ordering the same exact items ordered at the same time, we hoped to conduct an apples-to-apples comparison (pun intended).

Where our shoppers were located

  • New York City area.
  • Los Angeles area.
  • Orlando area.
  • Louisville, Kentucky area.

Availability of items

(Photo by Tarah Chieffi/The Points Guy)

First, let's take a look at the overall availability of our items on both Amazon and Walmart.com.

Amazon Prime

LocationAvailability 
New York City area.All items available (COVID-19 test was a different brand).
Los Angeles area.All items available (COVID-19 test was a different brand).
Orlando area.No grocery items available.
Louisville area.All items available (COVID-19 test was a different brand).

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.

Walmart+

LocationAvailability 
New York City area.No grocery items available.
Los Angeles area.All items available.
Orlando area.All items available.
Louisville area.All items available.

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.

Pricing

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.

Walmart+Amazon Prime
Milk$2.15.$3.29.
Dozen eggs$3.02.$2.99.
Apples$7.71.$8.39.
Masks$8.69.$8.81.
COVID tests$19.88.$17.98.
iPhone charger$16.95.$13.99.

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.

Delivery speed and quality

(Photo by Tarah Chieffi/The Points Guy)

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.

Is Walmart+ a worthy Amazon Prime substitute?

(Photo by Tarah Chieffi/The Points Guy)

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.

Can someone with an Amex Platinum live with Walmart+ and not need Amazon Prime?

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.

Bottom line

(Photo by Leezel Tanglao/The Points Guy)

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.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
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  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 points
    75,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $125
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

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  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees