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What are earned discounts or portfolio tier incentives?

By Last updated on: March 9, 2023

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?

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 Earned Discount

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.

Portfolio Tier Incentive Refund Retriever UPS

UPS Portfolio Tier Incentives

Earned Discount Rates FedEx Refund Retriever

So are incentives so 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

FedEx & UPS Refunds  Contract Negotiation  Freight/LTL Rate Shopping

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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