UPS Red: Meaning, Features, Variants & Alternatives

UPS shipping or delivery services are not based on color codes. However, the bright red accompanying UPS Next Day Air packages can be very difficult to miss. Hence, the name UPS Red. 

UPS Next Day Air and UPS Red are the same and interchangeable. This shipping option is by air and guarantees next-day delivery. 

Aside from UPS Red, there is UPS Blue and UPS Orange. These shipping options are different in terms of delivery speed and weight restriction. Let’s find out what UPS Red means, its variants, and what they offer. 

You will also learn about alternative shipping options such as UPS Blue and UPS Orange and how UPS handles international shipments.

What is UPS Red? 


UPS Red or Next Day Air is an air-shipping option that guarantees delivery before or by 10:30 a.m. the next day from when the order was shipped

To enjoy this service, you must reside within the 48 contiguous states, Anchorage, AK, or major southern Canadian cities. 

In other words, it is safe to say international shipping is not one of the strengths of UPS Red. There are options for this (and they will be discussed in this guide). 

Features of UPS Red

  1. Best for packages that must arrive at the start of the next business day. 
  2. Delivers packages on Saturday. Such deliveries may occur between the hours of 12 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. 
  3. Provide overnight services for time-bound shipments. 
  4. Packages can be up to 150 pounds and usually do not require a signature except if you are shipping to a commercial address. 
  5. Regarding pricing, UPS charges: 
  • About $110 to $120 for packages weighing up to 5 pounds or less. 
  • About $145 to $155 for packages weighing 10 pounds or less. 
  • For packages weighing more than 10 pounds, you need to pay about $160

Variants of UPS Red

Aside from UPS Red or Next Day Air, other shipping options guarantee next-day delivery. They include: 

1. UPS Next Day Air Early 

UPS Next Day Air® Early also provides early morning delivery for time-sensitive packages. However, it is expected to deliver earlier than UPS Red or Next Day Air. 

This service offers similar features to UPS Red except for delivery between 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. This means it is usually about 1 to 2 hours earlier than UPS Red. 

Saturday deliveries also occur as early as 9 a.m. 


This shipping option charges about: 

  • $140 to $150 for packages weighing up to 5 pounds or less. 
  • $175 to $185 for packages weighing up to 10 pounds or less. 
  • $210 to $220 for packages heavier than 10 pounds. 

2. UPS Next Day Air Saver 

UPS Next Day Air Saver®, on the other hand, provides guaranteed next-day afternoon delivery. As a result, it is the most affordable Next Day UPS delivery option. 

Choosing this service implies you are okay with delivery by 3:00 p.m. or 4:30 p.m. the next day. Aside from this, all other features align with that of UPS Red.


You will have to pay about: 

  • $100 to $110 for packages weighing 5 pounds or less. 
  • $140 to $150 for packages weighing 10 pounds or less. 
  • $150 for packages weighing more than 10 pounds. 

Are There Alternatives to UPS Red? 


Next-day delivery attracts an extra fee via UPS, FedEx, or USPS. If you would like to avoid these fees or your package is not so time-sensitive, these are the UPS Red alternatives to consider: 

1. UPS Blue (delivery within two business days)

UPS Blue is also known as UPS 2nd Day Air. This air-shipping service differs from UPS Red and its variants because it delivers your package within the next 48 (business) hours.

In other words, if you initiate a shipping process via this option on Monday, you can expect delivery between 10:30 a.m. and 12 p.m. on Wednesday. The cost for this service is usually about $42.

Like UPS Red and its variant, this service is available in the 48 contiguous states with a few limitations in Alaska and Hawaii. However, it only serves businesses.

2. UPS Orange (delivery within three business days)

UPS Orange is also known as UPS 3 Day Select®. This cost-effective service guarantees delivery by the end of the 3rd business day, including Saturday. 

Like its peers, it is also available in the 48 contiguous states. UPS 3-Day Select may cost about $42.02. 

3. UPS Ground (delivery within 1-5 business days)

UPS® Ground remains the cheapest (costs about $20) way to ship a package via UPS, provided you do not mind delivery between 1 to 5 days. Delivery mode with this option is via land and is available in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. 

UPS Options for International Shipment 

UPS offers both domestic and international shipping. While UPS Red, UPS Blue, UPS Orange, and UPS Ground Shipping mostly address deliveries within the U.S., the services below are best for international shipment: 

1. UPS Worldwide Express Plus 

  • Offers next business day delivery for shipments heading to Canada, two days delivery for European countries, and 2 to 3 days delivery to Asia. 
  • Delivery occurs at 8:30 a.m. in Canada and 9:00 a.m. in other countries. 

2. UPS Worldwide Express

  • Delivery occurs at 10:30 am or 12:00 noon
  • Next business day delivery to Canada and Mexico. Only documents for Mexico. 
  • Delivery within two business days for European and Latin American countries. 
  • Delivery is within two or three business days for Asian countries. 

3. UPS Worldwide Expedited

  • Delivery within 1 to 2 business days to Canada and for documents heading to Mexico. 
  • 3 to 4 business day delivery to Europe 
  • 4 to 5 business days delivery to Asia 


Is FedEx or UPS cheaper?

UPS offers a slightly cheaper flat rate pricing compared to FedEx. While FedEx may start cheaper for variable pricing, it becomes expensive for heavy shipments destined for a long distance. 

How many times will UPS attempt delivery?

UPS will likely attempt delivery thrice. After the final attempt, your package will return to the pick-up station or the sender. 

How long will UPS hold a package after the 3rd attempt?

UPS will hold your package for at least five business days. C.O.D. shipments, on the other hand, are automatically returned to the sender. 


It is safe to say that the UPS Next Day Air was tagged UPS Red because of the red color that accompanies the package. The same applies to other UPS services, such as UPS Blue and UPS Orange. 

However, these services have different features. If your package is very time-sensitive or must arrive the next morning, UPS Next Day Air Early or Next Day Air (UPS Red) is the ideal service. 

For packages that can arrive the next day but in the afternoon, UPS Next Day Air Saver should work just fine. Please note that the earlier you want your shipment to arrive, the more money you must pay. 

If you want your packages delivered in two or three days, the UPS Blue (2nd Day Air) and UPS Orange (3 Day Select) shipping options will help you, respectively. 

UPS Ground Shipping offers the most cost-effective UPS shipping option with a typical 1 to 5-business-day delivery turnaround. Lastly, prices for international deliveries may also vary by destination and package size. 

I hope you found this guide helpful. If you did, please see what a UPS exception means and how it can affect deliveries. 

Thanks for reading.