Free AWS Credits: A Comprehensive Guide to Earning and Using Free AWS Credits

2023-06-286 minute read

last updated: 28-June-2023

As a newly established tech startup, you’ve decided to use AWS services, the next question is: What are the costs associated? And how am I going to provide a reliable product for my customers without taking on excess costs upfront? It is precisely in these kinds of situations where startups like yours need to leverage free AWS credits.

AWS has over 1,000,000 active user accounts. It has now become the defacto for startups across the world with its promising and wide array of features. AWS Credits can give your startup initial savings on cloud costs so that you can use that capital to boost other initiatives such as shipping the product, hiring the right team, focusing on sales pipelines, Ad spending, etc.

AWS Free credit programs

What are AWS credits?

AWS credits are promotional coupons offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) in order to allow new customers to use their AWS services for a certain amount of time. Credits can be redeemed straight from AWS’s billing page and are applied until they are exhausted or expired.

5 ways to obtain your free credits

  1. AWS Activate Founders - This is the first place to look for credits. Provided to individual founders whose startups are self-funded or bootstrapped. AWS activate is amazon’s program to support budding entrepreneurs. Activate Founders usually provides $1000 in credits with $350 in developer support credits and other offers. You can apply here.
  2. AWS Activate Portfolio - For funded or un-funded startups that are associated with an incubator, accelerator, venture-capital firm, or other organization that is an AWS Activate Provider. Startups with up to series A funding can apply under this category. This activate tier provides up to $100,000 in credits and $10,000 in AWS Business support credits. If this tier is right for you, you can apply here. If you aren’t yet part of any accelerator, you may consider applying to renowned startup accelerator programs like YC and Techstars. Alternatively, you can try approaching a local startup incubator in your city and see if they have any suitable programs. Yes, all these also come with AWS credits and a bunch of other perks. Use tools like slidebean or tracxn to find a suitable program.
  3. AWS Free Tier - There is also a free tier available to use AWS. These include free trials, 12-month free, and forever free options. Such services often come with usage limits in terms of compute time, storage or speed. You can find out more about the Free Tier to see if it fits your project requirements.
  4. AWS Proof Of Concept Program - This program provides organizations with $1000 in credits and an architecture review session for free. This is useful for those still figuring out how AWS might benefit their project and organization. Interested people can check it out here.
  5. AWS Webinars & Events - Attending AWS webinars and events is another way to get access to more free credits. Being part of the community can be rewarding not only in terms of knowledge but also with credits that you can use to deploy your apps on AWS. View a full list of AWS events here.

The ultimate list of AWS free credit deals

There are also several deals associated with your favorite organizations that offer AWS credits. Feel free to check the ones listed here.

  1. Product Hunt’s Founders club
  2. Startupschool
  3. Brex Rewards
  4. Silicon Valley Bank
  5. Mercury’s perks for FinTech
  6. Startupdeals
  7. Zero to One
  8. Secret
  9. Founder Friendly Labs
  10. Founder Institute
  11. Parallel 18
  12. Ramp
  13. Techcrunch Extra Crunch
  14. AWS Startup Loft Accelerator
  15. Cloudvisor
  16. Segment deals
  17. F6s deal
  18. Vestbee CEE Startup Challenge
  19. FounderPass
  20. Global Accelerator Network - Boom Startup
  21. Startupbootcamp
  22. Alchemist Accelerator
  23. Stripe Atlas
  24. Wayra
  25. Ignite
  26. Launch Academy
  27. New Ventures
  28. Startup Wise Guys
  29. Accelerating Asia
  30. NachoNacho

For our readers from India:

  1. Razorpay Rize
  2. Kerala Startup Mission
  3. Startup India
  4. Gujarat University SEC
  5. Swachhta Startup Challenge
  6. MeitY Startup Hub
  7. Amazon Global Selling Propel Accelerator 2.0
  8. Accel Atoms
  9. Surge Startup Perks

More ways to benefit from free credits

In addition to providing free credits to startups, there are several other credit pools allotted to other types of organizations and projects. Some of them are:

  1. Open Source Projects
  2. AWS Educate to learn and develop cloud skills
  3. AWS credits for non-profit organizations
  4. AWS Imagine grant for Nonprofits (USA)
  5. AWS Cloud Credit for Research for students and faculty.
  6. AWS Institute for public sector
  7. AWS Clean Energy Accelerator for zero-emission tech startups
  8. AWS Impact Accelerator for minority founders

Things to remember when using AWS credits

  • A business can receive a maximum lifetime value of $100,000 in AWS credits. Furthermore, qualifying companies with ML workloads can get up to $250,000 in specific cases.
  • All credits issued have expiration dates, commonly 1 or 2 years. Ensure you are able to make the most out of your credits before they expire
  • Credits are applied to only the account that received the credits. Credit sharing can be turned on or off from the billing console’s preferences page
  • Credits come in two tiers: Start tier ($5000), Accelerate tier ($10,000 - $20,000 and more). When applying for credits, go for the Start tier, and then request again if you see the need for more credits
  • AWS credits do not have any cash value and are not redeemable for cash
  • They are usually linked to an account or organization and can be used for defined AWS services only
  • Credit applications take different amounts of time to approve ranging from a few days to a month, plan in advance to have the credits when you need them.

Here's the Ultimate list of Free GCP credits.

Ready to ship?

Now that you have your project ready and free credits in your AWS account, it’s time to deploy your project to production. My company Argonaut offers an easy-to-use tool to automate your deployments. Whether you’re deploying on AWS Lambda Serverless or using Kubernetes, Argonaut takes care of connecting your repo, managing environments, and AWS resources, and making the entire deployment process seamless. It’s forever free for small teams, sign up now and give it a try at Argonaut.

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