Revealed: The Online Holiday Shipping Deadlines for This Year
Black Monday, Cyber Friday, Green Wednesday Evening -- whatever, they're all done and gone and now it's time to panic. How long do you have to order things before it's too late for Christmas morning? Is it still possible to get free shipping? Are you totally screwed?
Well, Free Shipping Day (FSD) is Friday, December 16, and that's certainly your last day to order from over 1,000 online merchants if you have any expectation of getting items without paying an arm and a leg. Last year, FSD brought in $1.48 billion alone. FatWallet says free shipping is the most important factor in six out of 10 online gift purchases. Plus, plenty of retailers will offer free shipping well past Dec. 16, including big names like Target, Best Buy, Toys R Us, the Microsoft Store, Verizon, HP, Office Depot/Office Max, JBL, Overstock, Crutchfield, Buydig and others.
Plus, at many other stores, you simply need to spend a minimum to get "free" shipping, even after Dec. 16. For example, at Walmart, spend $50 bucks and the only extra you pay are sales tax where applicable. You can also ship to the store for local pickup in some cases.
Having FSD on Dec. 16 -- a full 9 days ahead of Christmas -- was necessitated by having the holiday and Christmas Eve Day on a weekend (thanks a lot, stupid Leap Year. As if 2016 wasn't bad enough.) If you want your packages by Christmas Eve, you're quickly running out of time. But here are the days to keep in mind when ordering, for all the major players in online commerce, courtesy of BestBlackFriday.com, DealNews, DealHack and others. Not every site agrees on the deadline dates, so be sure to check carefully when you shop. And scroll down for the days you need to send packages via the major delivery companies.
Amazon always has free shipping if you spend more than $49 bucks, but if you're a Prime member you get stuff in two days most of the time.
December 16 -- Free Shipping ($49 minimum)
December 19 -- Standard Shipping
December 22 -- Two-Day Shipping (Free with Prime)
December 23 -- One-Day Shipping (In select cities)
December 24, 9:30 a.m. local time or earlier -- Same-Day Delivery (In select cities)
December 24, 9:45 p.m. local time or earlier -- Two-Hour Delivery (In select cities)
December 25 -- Gift code purchases
Target offers free standard shipping (3-5 days) and returns on every order made through January 1, 2017, anywhere in the 50 states, even APO mailboxes.
December 17 -- Standard Shipping
December 22 -- Premium Shipping
December 23 -- Express Shipping (1 Business Day)
Best Buy is offering free standard shipping all holiday season on items purchased through Dec. 24, 2016. You'll only pay more if you need it by Dec. 24.
December 21 before 10:30 a.m. CT -- Free Standard Shipping
December 22 -- Expedited Shipping
December 23 -- Express Shipping
December 24 -- In-Store Pickup (or actual "shopping")
December 25 -- E-gift Cards purchased at BestBuy.com
These dates are for Dell PCs designated as "Ships Same Day"
December 16 by 2 p.m. CST -- Standard
December 21 by 2 p.m. CST -- Expedited
December 22 by 2 p.m. CST -- Express
Newegg displays its deadlines in a nice calendar, including call-center hours for after the holidays. Dates below require orders by noon local time.
December 16 -- Large items
December 21 -- Business 3-Day Shipping
December 22 -- Business 2-Day Shipping
December 23 -- Business 1-Day Shipping
December 24 -- Will Call Hours if you order by 8 a.m. local time.
Same as last year: If you buy direct from Apple.com, two-day shipping is always free on in-stock items Ordering a customized Mac computer (or customized anything) isn't included -- it won't arrive on time for Dec. 24. There is two-hour delivery in some select locations, but probably not where you live.
For "effortless returns," you have until Jan. 8, 2017 to return any devices purchased between Nov. 10 and Dec. 25, 2016.
December 22 by 5 p.m. local time -- In-stock Apple products shipped 2-Day Free
December 23 -- On iPhones or Next Day Shipping on other products
December 24 -- In-Store Pickup
Toys R Us
Toys R Us lists all its shipping dates online. Expedited Delivery is an extra $9.99, Express is $19.99.
December 19 by 11:59 p.m. ET -- Free Shipping (with $19 minimum purchase)
December 21 by 3 p.m ET -- Expedited Shipping
December 21 by 11:59 p.m. ET -- Express Shipping
December 24 -- In-Store Pickup
Walmart has free standard shipping on orders over $50. Or pick up for free in the store anytime. Sign up for Shipping Pass for $49 and you get free two-day shipping anytime on any order with free returns online or in-store. Some items have limited return windows of time, but those have been extended for the holidays; most items get 90 days. There's free two-day shipping on about 1,500 select toys until Dec. 21.
December 16 -- Value
December 20 -- Standard
December 21 -- Expedited
December 22 -- Rush
December 23 -- 2-Day Shipping or order by 6 p.m. to pick up in stores on Dec. 24 by 6 p.m.
December 24 -- Free In-Store Pickup until 6 p.m. (stores closing two hours earlier than previous years)
GameStop does not do free shipping. Value Shipping (5-10 days) is $4.99 and Standard (3-4 business days) is $6.99. Rates are higher for Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico. As a place that sells used games as well, it has a complicated return policy, so open boxes accordingly.
December 15 at 12 p.m. -- Value Saver
December 19 at 12 p.m. -- Ground Shipping
December 20 at 12 p.m. -- 2-Day ($9.99)
December 21 at 12 p.m. -- 1-Day ($12.99)
December 16 -- Home Delivery and Ground
December 20 -- Express Saver
December 21 -- 2-Day and 2-Day a.m.
December 22 -- Standard Overnight, Priority Overnight and First Overnight
December 23 -- SameDay City (Standard)
December 25 -- SameDay and sameDay City (Priority)
December 19 -- UPS 3-Day Select
December 21 -- UPS 2nd Day Air
December 22 -- UPS Next Day Air and UPS 2nd Day Air (Saturday option)
December 23 -- UPS Next Day Air (Saturday option)
December 15—USPS Retail Ground
December 19 -- DNDC Drop Ship
December 20 -- First-Class Mail Service
December 21 -- Priority Mail Service
December 22 -- DDU Drop Ship
December 23 -- Priority Mail Express Service