What is the Cheapest Way to Overnight a Package?

Learn what the most affordable option is for sending a package overnight between all three shipping carriers in the U.S.
what is the cheapest way to overnight a package?
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Whether you like to send care packages or you operate an eCommerce business that ships dozens of boxes per day, chances are you’ve had to overnight a package at some point. Overnighting a package is costly, as shipping carriers charge high premiums for express delivery—and savvy shippers know all the tricks to save the most money on these shipments. That said, if you’re looking for the cheapest way to overnight a package, the answer depends on how far your package needs to travel, as well as where you’re buying your postage in the first place.

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Priority Mail Express is Typically the Cheapest Way to Overnight a Package to Most Places in the U.S.

In most cases, Priority Mail Express (PME) is the cheapest way to overnight a package to most locations within the United States. When you compare the express services each major carrier offers, PME wins out in terms of price 99% of the time.

The comparable overnight delivery services from UPS and FedEx are UPS Next Day Air and FedEx Overnight, respectively.

FedEx offers three different time-specific services for overnight delivery:

  • FedEx First Overnight (least expensive, delivery between 8:00 am and 9:30 am)
  • FedEx Priority Overnight (medium expensive, delivery by 12 pm to residences and 5:00 pm to rural areas)
  • FedEx Standard Overnight (most expensive, delivery by 8:00 pm to residences)

While FedEx gives shippers more time-specific options than USPS, each of those three services is more expensive than USPS Priority Mail Express.

If Your Destination is Close, UPS Ground May Be the Most Affordable Option for Next-Day Delivery

Depending on where you’re shipping, Priority Mail Express may not be the cheapest option. In fact, for shipments that don’t need to travel far (within a 50-mile radius or so), UPS Ground may be your cheapest option for overnight delivery!

UPS Ground is the most affordable service that UPS offers, and while it’s usually the slowest, these packages often arrive by the end of the next business day for shipments that don’t need to travel far. This effectively makes UPS Ground the cheapest option for overnight delivery…but again, this only applies in rare cases when you’re sending a package less than 50 miles or so.

Shipping Software Providers Offer Discounts That Might Make UPS Cheaper than USPS for Overnighting a Package

Here’s where things get really interesting. When you use shipping software to purchase labels from UPS and USPS, the special discounts access might make UPS the overall cheapest option for overnighting a package.

With discounts from shipping software, UPS Next Day Air Saver (a sub-service of UPS Next Day Air) features next-day delivery at more affordable prices than Priority Mail Express.

UPS offers comparatively lower rates for Next Day Air Saver because the delivery takes slightly longer. For instance, while Priority Mail Express packages often arrive by 6:00 pm local time the next day, UPS Next Day Air Saver packages typically get delivered by 11:00 pm. If you’re willing to wait a few hours, though, UPS Next Day Air Saver purchased through shipping software providers may be the most affordable choice for overnighting a package.

Learn more about purchasing discounted labels through online shipping software providers.

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