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True rate increase in 2017 FedEx and UPS Express rates

By Last updated on: January 18, 2019

Each year FedEx and UPS increase rates, everyone knows this but how much are the increases for each service and how can you be proactive to save money on your shipping? Let’s look at the true increases and what you can do to keep your shipping costs as low as possible.

FedEx and UPS increase rates

  • FedEx Express rates increased by an average of 3.9%
  • FedEx Ground/Home Delivery rates increased by an average of 4.9%
  • UPS Ground service increased by an average net of 4.9%
  • UPS Express rate increased an average net 4.9%

However, those 4.9% average UPS Express and 3.9% FedEx Express increases can be deceiving. Lower weighted shipments, what the majority of our customers ship every day, are seeing a higher increase than the packages that are heavier in weight. The rate increase for UPS Envelope (under 8 ounces) is really 5.5% across all zones! Take a look at what the rate increase actually looks like:

UPS increase rates

Are you getting the best discount on your shipping?

With FedEx and UPS increasing their rates each year, understanding your own shipping contracts is very important. Did the carriers create the complexity in these to increase their own profits, when was the last time you read through your carrier contract?

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With most FedEx and UPS contracts there are two main types of discounts: guaranteed and volume based incentive discounts. The guaranteed discount rates will be applied to each shipment automatically. Volume-based discounts are directly tied to your shipping volume. FedEx calls these earned discounts and UPS uses the term portfolio tier incentives.

Carrier Agreement Discounts

FedEx Volume-based incentives are calculated using annualized gross transportation charges. Accessorial and surcharges are usually not included in this average calculation. UPS uses gross transportation charges, residential surcharges, and delivery area/extended area surcharges. Both carriers typically use a rolling 52-week average.


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So why is this important? We recently had a client that requested a contract analysis, we found a percentage of their packages had no discount applied at all. He had guaranteed discounts for Ground shipping, however, all Express service discounts were tied to his portfolio tier incentives. The problem was that this client’s shipping volume placed him in the first tier receiving no additional Ground or Express discounts!


It is beneficial for a shipper to understand each type of discount and monitor your gross spend to be sure that you are benefiting from volume discounts. Be sure you are not in a tier that you are seeing zero additional discounts or a tier in which you cannot get any more discounts if your volume keeps increasing. Contact us at Refund Retriever if you have any questions or would like a free contract analysis.

What does Refund Retriever do?

Each Ground and Express package you send is guaranteed to arrive on time or it’s free! FedEx and UPS do not automatically give you these refunds, Refund Retriever monitors your invoices for late deliveries and other billing mistakes. No refunds, no fees. It’s that simple! Gain logistics insight and visibility with our free reports and analytics.

We also have a new freight rate shopping tool that makes shipping your LTL and truckload shipments as easy as shipping a UPS package. You benefit from our heavily discounted shipping rates with over 20 different LTL shipping carriers. Contact us today at

What are earned discounts or portfolio tier incentives?

Brian Gibbs

Author Brian Gibbs

More posts by Brian Gibbs

Brian Gibbs | President of Refund Retriever

Brian Gibbs founded Refund Retriever in 2006 while running his first eBay-based business and seeing the shortcomings of other shipment auditing companies. Refund Retriever's primary focus is FedEx and UPS parcel invoice auditing. After graduating from Texas A&M University in 2001, he graduated from the University of Houston in 2004 with a JD and MBA. Gibbs has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, and other publications discussing parcel auditing, shipping, e-commerce, and more. Learn more at or call (800) 441-8085 for more information.

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