The United States Postal Service, ever since its inception, has gone through several changes. Everything from the way mail is delivered, to the type of different products that are offered to its customers. There is no end to the names they give their shipping services. So today we will be discussing Priority Mail and the typical delivery times you can expect when using this shipping option.
Before we jump into it, let’s cover some fundamental topics surrounding Priority Mail. Everything from what it is, to how it works, available pricing that comes with it etc.
What Is USPS Priority Mail?
Priority Mail, a feature of package delivery from the USPS, provides customers with an option of sending mail based on weight and dimensions or via fixed price envelopes and boxes in a faster and cheaper way.
Mail is delivered 6 days a week with no additional charge on Saturday.
This is a fast and reliable way for customers to be able to send and receive packages throughout the US with delivery made within 1-3 business days. Priority Mail gives the opportunity for customers to send mail based on weight & dimension with all first class mail items that are over 13 ounces being priced at the typical Priority Mail price.
When using priority mail, you have the option to purchase extra features such as Insurance and a Return Receipt. Priority mail conducted within the US includes up to $50 and $100 in insurance based on the payment method that you used.
Here are some Perks of using Priority Mail:
- Convenience. You can use any post office location, in order to send Priority Mail or even personally give the package to your local mailman when he/she comes to deliver your daily mail.
- USPS Tracking. This is offered for Priority Mail items at no additional cost.
- Both Package Pickup & Pickup on Demand are available for Priority Mail
- Flexible payment options. To pay for postage, you can either use stamps or the postage meter. Keep in mind though that a USPS corporate account can’t be used to pay for Priority Mail. Any item that is over 13 ounces with postage paid by stamps, needs to be physically given to a clerk at your Local Post Office.
- Priority Mail can be forwarded or returned at no additional cost.
How Does Priority Mail Work?
Priority Mail is collected just like any other mail by the US Postal Service, as it can be dropped in a collection box, left at your carrier for pick up, dropped at selected authorized retailers or even given to a clerk at the Post Office window. From that point on, how mail is handled depends solely on the mailing class you selected (Priority Express, Priority First Class etc.) Mail will then be sorted by class at each facility that receives mail and from there forwarded to processing centers. At processing centers, all mail is processed according to the specific procedures according to its mailing class.
When it comes to shipping, mail is loaded based on priority. As an example, when you have mail being loaded into a plane with limited space and weight allowance. When it comes to ground shipping, priority mail will be the last loaded onto the truck so that when it arrives at its destination it will be the first item unloaded, in order for processing to begin immediately.
Finally, all priority mail will be delivered just like all other mail is; by the mail carrier or put into your Post Office box.
Do You Have To Sign For Priority Mail?
Items sent with Priority Mail may require a signature from the recipient of the delivery. When the recipient signs, they acknowledge delivery and the Postal Service’s liability ends when the recipient signs for the package.
If there is no one at home when the mailman tries to deliver the package, the carrier will leave a notice and return the item back to the Post Office. When you get the note, make sure to check for any specific instructions written in it. Alternatively you can always call the USPS directly at 1 – 800 – ASK – USPS and request redelivery of your mail.
If you only want to have a specific person receive your mail, a good option to ensure that happens is through the use of Restricted Delivery. This feature is available only if you also purchase Certified Mail, Insured Mail, Registered Mail, COD Hold for Pickup, Signature Confirmation or Adult Signature.
How Long Does Priority Mail Take?
Priority Mail takes between 1-3 days for domestic shipments. Priority mail transit times will vary depending on how far the package has to be delivered from its origin.
The USPS website has a very helpful priority mail map, which allows you to add in your zip code and estimate the delivery time to the destination address. Simply type in your zip code area and zoom in into the state your mail is expected to arrive at.
Is Priority Mail Guaranteed To Arrive in 3 Days?
Priority Mail remains a non-guaranteed service. There is no money back guarantee if items that are sent via Priority Mail, delay or do not arrive by the scheduled delivery date. You may want to consider Priority Mail Express if you’re interested in a money back guarantee.
How Long Does Priority Mail Express Take?
Priority Mail Express is the fastest mail service that is offered by the USPS. It comes with a 1 day or 2 day expedited service by 3PM. It also includes a $100 insurance coverage. For an additional charge, you can get your mail by 10:30AM or on a holiday and Sunday.
Priority Mail Express packaging supplies are available at no cost at your local Post Office branch. Businesses tend to use Priority Mail Express for important business documents such as contracts and sales orders.
Pricing for Priority Mail Express depends on a series of factors such as dimentional weight, destination of the package. Lower commercial prices are also available with Priority Mail Express packages that meet eligibility standards. Such items must contain an Intelligent Mail barcode, otherwise you would be charged a non compliance fee.
What Is Faster First Class Or Priority Mail?
Both First Class & Priority Mail will arrive about the same time for domestic shipments. The only difference between the 2 services is the weight of the package. First class mail is for all packages that are 13 ounces or less and Priority Mail is for all packages over 13 and up to 70 lbs.
Priority mail however will generally be given special attention and priority (as the name suggests,) so that it will be delivered first. Such a priority has a significant effect on international shipping but a much smaller effect and time saving on domestic shipping.
USPS Priority Mail Tracking
As with other types of mail, Priority Mail can also be tracked via the official USPS tracking website. When you have submitted your shipping request, you will get a shipping receipt. Make sure that you save it as that will contain your tracking number that you can look up later.
If you bought insurance at the Post Office, that is another place where you will be able to find your tracking number. Finally, you can also track your priority mail through the e-mail confirmation if you shipped from USPS.com.
If your package qualifies for Delivery Instructions, you can also tell USPS where to leave the package at your address or if you want to send it to another address and even the Post Office.
In order to leave delivery instructions, you will need to click on “change delivery instructions” on the tracking results page. If you don’t see that option, then your package is not eligible for the Delivery Instructions service.
Not all packages will have the option of leaving Delivery Instructions. Below are the top reasons why your package may not be eligible for Delivery Instructions. Ineligible packages may have:
- Already left the Post Office for delivery
- A hold mail request is in place
- A forward mail request
- A military (APO/FPO) or DPO address
- An international sender
- A Delivery Signature request
- A collect on delivery request
- An active USPS Package Intercept order
- Insurance for $500 or more than that.
How Much Does Priority Mail Cost
Priority Mail is one of the best selling mailing options the USPS has. Domestic deliveries usually arrive within 1-3 business days depending on the location of origin and destination of your package. Tracking and insurance are always included and shipping supplies (you can get these from the Post Office) are free. With Priority Mail Flat Rate, you do not need to weigh shipments that are under 70 lbs.
Postage for Priority Mail as well as shipping labels, can be purchased online and start at a ticket price of $7.50.
When you ship with Priority Mail, you get a free package pickup at your home or office. Priority Mail will include insurance of up to $50 and there are no surcharges for fuel. Delivery can take place both in resident and rural areas and delivery is also available on Saturday.
Another interesting feature that comes with Priority Mail is Prepaid Forever Priority Mail Flat Rate. With the exception of Priority Mail Flat Rate packages, all prices for Priority Mail are based on weight and zone. This way you get the same Flat Rate pricing with the added convenience of Forever postage.
How Much Is Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope
Commercial Plus—Letters, Large Envelopes & Parcels
|Flat Rate Envelopes (12-1/2″ x 9-1/2″ or smaller):||$7.15|
|Legal Flat Rate Envelope:||$7.45|
|Padded Flat Rate Envelope:||$7.75|
|Small Flat Rate Box:||$7.65|
|Medium Flat Rate Box:||$13.20|
|Large Flat Rate Box:||$18.30|
|APO/FPO/DPO Large Flat Rate Box:||$16.80|
|Weight Not Over |
|Local,1 & 2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9|
|Weight Not Over |
|Local,1 & 2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9|
Parcels that exceed one cubic foot (1,728 cubic inches) are charged based on the actual weight or the dimensional weight, whichever is greater.
IMpb Noncompliant Fee or eVS Unmanifested
How Much Do Priority Mail Boxes Cost To Ship
Regional Rate Boxes
Commercial Base–Commercial Plus USPS-Produced Packaging Only
|Boxes||Local,1 & 2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9|
Open & Distribute (PMOD)
|DDU Entry||Local,1 & 2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9|
|Flat Tub Tray||18.9||23.69||29.29||49.54||59.8||64.65||71.96||89.95|
|All Other Entry||Local,1 & 2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9|
|Flat Tub Tray||14.85||19.63||24.87||45.42||55.48||60.39||66.42||83.04|
You can expect priority mail to arrive within 1-3 days from the time it is mailed out. It is very similar to First Class Mail with regard to the typical delivery time, with the difference that you can mail larger pieces of mail that are up to 70 pounds.
Priority Mail is trackable via the USPS website, to ensure that you get notified when it is delivered and being able to trace it in the event of misdelivery or delays in delivery. Keep in mind, that there is no guaranteed delivery time.
A good way for frequent customers of the USPS to stay on top of their mail & packages, is by using what is known as a virtual mailbox. It is very similar to the way a typical PO Box works function, with the difference being that all that mail is uploaded online into your online account (or app.) This way, you can avoid driving over to the post office, or having capacity limits on the amount of mail you can receive. You also get the advantage of having 80% off your typical shipping rates.
Here at US Global Mail, we handle all type of mail on behalf of our customers and that includes Priority Mail. Simply complete a change of address with the USPS, and we will upload your mail items online when we receive them for you. From there, you can request that we scan, shred or ship your mail to your location (with up to 80% off typical shipping rates.)
Individuals & businesses alike, have been fleeing to digital mailbox alternatives, especially in view of the recent health scare events with reference to the global pandemic and a more remote workplace. If banking and ordering food can be done via an app, people should be able to access their mail in a digital format too. E-mail did not disrupt the snail mail industry entirely, but virtual mailboxes are.