Priority Mail Express Envelope

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March 24, 2024

Whether you’re a forward-thinking eCommerce retailer striving to optimize your logistics or an individual mailer entrusted with a time-sensitive package, having a shipping service that guarantees your mail reaches its destination swiftly and securely is critical.

Fortunately, within the vast array of letter and package delivery options that the United States Postal Service (USPS) offers, one service, particularly, ticks the fast and reliable checkboxes – Priority Mail Express.

What truly sets Priority Mail Express apart from the Postal Service’s offerings is its versatile range of flat-rate shipping supplies designed to accommodate diverse mail items.

This article uncovers the exceptional features, pricing, and packaging options of Priority Mail Express, pitting it against its standard, yet also outstanding, counterpart, Priority Mail.

Are you looking for a USPS mail delivery option that matches your preferences and needs as a shipper? Talk to a Postal Service representative at your local post office. Visit FindPostOffice.org to find your area’s most convenient post office locations.

What You Need to Know About USPS Priority Mail Express

When shipping with the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), Priority Mail Express is the premier choice if you’re looking for reliable, competitively-priced, and lightning-fast deliveries around the clock.

This USPS service offers next- to two-day shipping for mailpieces up to 70lbs or your money back. With its flat-rate pricing feature, Priority Mail Express eliminates the hassle of weighing your packages, allowing you to pay one price when sending to any state.

Priority Mail Express Is the Fastest Service USPS Offers

USPS Priority Mail Express is renowned for its speedy delivery times. With one- to two-day guaranteed shipping, it’s the U.S. Postal Service’s fastest expedited mail delivery option.

USPS takes pride in Priority Mail Express’ reliability, offering the service 365 days a year, even on Sundays and holidays (for an additional fee), for many U.S. addresses.

How Much Is Priority Mail Express?

The postage rate for mailing via USPS’ Priority Mail Express service varies depending on the packaging. If you’re using flat-rate shipping supplies, here’s what you can expect:

DimensionsPrice
Flat Rate Envelope12 ½” x 9 ½”$28.75
Legal Flat Rate Envelope15” x 9 ½”$28.95
Padded Flat Rate Envelope12 ½” x 9 ½”$29.45

If you’re using a non-flat-rate container, the shipping rate depends on the mailpiece’s weight and the shipping zone. 

USPS has nine shipping zones based on the origin and destination ZIP codes. Generally, the further away the ZIP codes are from each other, the higher the zone number.

For instance, shipping a package weighing 3lbs to Zone 4 (300-600 miles), the postage cost, as of September 2023, is $45.00. Conversely, sending a parcel weighing 50lbs to Zone 1 (0-150 miles) costs $149.10.

Whether you’re an individual mailer or a business, understanding the cost of Priority Mail Express is crucial. Fortunately, the pricing structure for Priority Mail Express is flexible, accommodating various needs and budgets.

For additional information on your potential Priority Mail Express expenses, visit your local post office. Use FindPostOffice.org’s locator tool to find your area’s most convenient USPS facilities.

USPS Priority Mail Express: The Breakdown

Now that we’ve taken a quick look at what Priority Mail Express offers, it’s time to dive deeper, peeling back the intricacies of this exceptional USPS service.

Features and Pricing

The standout feature of Priority Mail Express is its next- to two-day delivery window. However, it also includes other characteristics that make it superior to USPS’ other package delivery offerings.

For one, you can request your local post office to pick your mailpiece up from the comfort of your home or office at no additional cost. 

Speaking of convenience, Priority Mail Express is eligible for enhanced Click-N-Ship, letting you print shipping labels online and have USPS deliver them to you.

Priority Mail Express also comes with USPS Tracking, allowing you to monitor your parcel’s journey from departure to arrival at its final destination. At the same time, Priority Mail Express includes up to $100 damage or loss coverage.

The Pricing Table (Commercial Pricing)

For businesses, USPS provides competitive commercial pricing for Priority Mail Express. However, the exact rates may vary depending on weight, dimensions, and destination factors.

Here’s an overview of Priority Mail Express commercial rates based on USPS’ September 2023 pricing:

Flat Rate Envelope$24.90
Legal Flat Rate Envelope$25.15
Padded Flat Rate  Envelope$25.35
Priority Mail Express Mailing BoxesStarts at $24.90Up to $609.55

For a comprehensive price table, visit the USPS website at USPS.com. Conversely, you can consult a Postal Service representative at a post office location. Quickly locate your local USPS facilities with FindPostOffice.org’s USPS facility finder.

Weight, Size, and Shape Requirements

To make the most of Priority Mail Express, you must adhere to USPS’s weight, size, and shape guidelines. Here are the essential considerations:

Pay One Price With USPS Priority Mail Express Flat Rate Envelopes

Priority Mail Express allows you to use flat-rate envelopes if you want simplicity. Regardless of weight or destination, you can ship your items at a predetermined rate, making it easy to calculate costs upfront.

Pay by Weight and Zone (Distance) With USPS Priority Mail Express Mailing Boxes

If your shipment doesn’t fit in a flat-rate envelope, use USPS Priority Mail Express mailing boxes. These standard-sized containers let you ship up to 70lbs. The postage cost will depend on how much your package weighs precisely and how far it’s going.

Pay by Weight and Zone (Distance) Using Your Own Box

Fortunately, you can use your own box if you’re mailing irregularly shaped items or those that don’t fit in standard USPS packaging and still be eligible for Priority Mail Express.

However, the packaging you use must not exceed a combined length and girth of 108”. Depending on your box’s dimensions, you must also pay a nonstandard fee between $4.00 and $25.00.

Moreover, you’ll pay dimensional weight (DIM) rates if your mailpiece exceeds one cubic foot. You’ll also pay DIM rates if your package’s DIM surpasses its actual weight. 

To determine your parcel’s DIM, multiply its length by width and height and divide that value by 166.

Additional Information

Beyond pricing and packaging, you must consider several other crucial aspects when using Priority Mail Express.

Mailing Restrictions and Prohibitions

The U.S. Postal Service prohibits you from sending specific items via Priority Mail Express. These restricted contents include tobacco, alcohol, and other hazardous materials (HAZMAT), like poisons.

For a comprehensive list of restricted and prohibited mail items, visit the USPS website at USPS.com. Alternatively, you can consult a Postal Service representative at your local post office. Use FindPostOffice.org’s locator tool to find your area’s USPS facilities.

Shipping to a Military and Diplomatic Post Office (APO/FPO/DPO)

One of the advantages of sending packages through USPS’ Priority Mail Express service is that you pay domestic rates when shipping to domestic and overseas military and diplomatic post offices.

These facilities include the Army Post Office (APO), Fleet Post Office (FPO), and Diplomatic Post Office (DPO). Do understand, however, that you must complete a customs form and follow the destination country’s guidelines and restrictions.

Requesting a Refund

USPS’s money-back guarantee reflects their confidence in its Priority Mail Express delivery service. 

If USPS fails to meet its delivery commitment for Priority Mail Express, you’re entitled to a refund within 30 days of the promised mailing date. 

For Businesses

Did you know retail customers pay around 15% more to use Priority Mail Express? The U.S. Postal Service offers businesses several benefits, including discounted rates.

USPS can provide further discounts and custom pricing through its Negotiated Service Agreement (NSA) if you’re a business with high-volume shipping needs. Other Priority Mail Express benefits include Priority Mail Express Return and shipping and return label printing and delivery.

Priority Mail Express Open and Distribute

If you’re a business, such as an eCommerce retailer, using Priority Mail Express Open and Distribute (PMEOD) allows you to expedite your bulk shipments at an affordable cost.

This service streamlines the mailing process by letting you send your packages in an approved USPS container to an authorized USPS facility, where they’ll be opened, processed, and distributed to their respective addresses.

Manage Incoming Mail

Aside from the fast, affordable, and reliable Priority Mail Express service, USPS also offers various options for managing your business mail. These management features include Informed Delivery, which lets you preview incoming packages, business P.O. boxes, and mail pickup and forwarding.

Next-Day Deliveries

As a business, timely deliveries are crucial for maintaining and improving customer satisfaction. Priority Mail Express’ next-day shipping lets you get your shipments to your customers on time.

Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express: What’s the Difference?

While both Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express offer fast and dependable shipping options, these USPS services have several critical differences that may make one better, depending on your specific mailing needs and preferences.

Priority Mail

Priority Mail provides many of the same benefits as its express counterpart, including overnight delivery, free package pickup, USPS Tracking, and flat-rate options. What makes this service distinct is that it has an extra day for turnaround and no Sunday and holiday deliveries.

Priority Mail Express

On the other hand, as discussed extensively in this guide, Priority Mail Express provides guaranteed next- to two-day delivery, seven days a week, making it ideal for time-sensitive shipments.

Packaging: Priority Mail vs. Priority Mail Express

The choice of packaging can significantly impact your shipping experience. 

Let’s explore the packaging options for Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express.

Priority Mail Express Packaging

For Priority Mail Express, USPS offers a variety of packaging options, including several flat-rate envelopes, standardized Priority Mail Express boxes, and your own boxes.

Priority Mail Packaging

Priority Mail also offers a range of packaging choices, such as flat-rate envelopes and standard boxes. However, Priority Mail also offers flat-rate boxes of various sizes, which can further simplify the packaging process.

Here’s a quick overview of the available Priority Mail flat-rate boxes:

DimensionsPrice
Small Flat Rate Box8⅝” x 5⅜” x 1⅝”$10.20
Medium Flat Rate Box1” x 8½” x 5½” (top-loading)13⅝” x 11⅞” x 3⅜” (side-loading)$17.10
Large Flat Rate Box12” x 12¼” x 6”$22.80

Pricing: Priority Mail vs. Priority Mail Express

Pricing is a critical consideration for anyone shipping with the U.S. Postal Service and deciding which specific USPS mail delivery option to use. Generally speaking, Priority Mail Express costs three to four times more than Priority Mail.

To explain, let’s assume you’re mailing a package at a maximum weight

of 70lbs. If you’re using your own box, shipping via Priority Mail to Zone 5 (600-1,000 miles) will cost $113.25. On the other hand, the price of sending the same package via Priority Mail Express is $465.85.

However, if your mail items can fit inside a Medium Flat Rate Box, shipping via Priority Mail will only cost you $17.10. Unfortunately for Priority Mail Express, flat-rate boxes aren’t available packaging options.

Based on this example, it’s cheaper to pick Priority Mail as your package delivery solution. However, doing so means you’ll sacrifice the year-round, 1-2 day shipping window for 1-3 business days without Sunday and holiday delivery.

Features: Priority Mail vs. Priority Mail Express

Understanding the features offered by Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express can help you choose which service may better suit your mailing needs and preferences.

Shipping Insurance

Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express automatically include shipping insurance coverage of up to $100. In short, you can’t go wrong with either option if you need protection from damage, loss, or missing package contents.

Package Tracking

USPS Tracking is available for Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express shipments. Both services are also eligible for USPS Tracking Plus, which extends your access to your packages’ tracking information for up to 10 years.

Weekend and Holiday Delivery

While the U.S. Postal Service delivers Priority Mail items on Saturdays at no additional cost, Priority Mail Express takes it a step further by offering shipping on Sundays and major holidays, ensuring that your packages reach their destination promptly.

International Shipping

Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express have international mail delivery variants. Both shipping options provide mailing services to 180 countries. However, it’s the delivery timeframe that sets the two apart.

Priority Mail International provides 6- to 10-business-day shipping. On the other hand, Priority Mail Express International has a shorter window of 3 to 5 days.

Unfortunately, Priority Mail Express is no longer the fastest mailing solution USPS offers on the international turf. This spot is taken by the Global Express Guaranteed service, which offers next- to three-day international shipping.

For more information on USPS’ international options, such as First-Class Mail International, visit your local post office. Quickly find your area’s most convenient USPS facilities with FindPostOffice.org.

Priority Mail Express Service Limitations

While USPS’ Priority Mail Express service boasts various advantages, it has weaknesses. Recognizing these limitations ensures a smooth shipping experience.

Exceptions and Limitations

Some locations and destinations may have exceptions to the next-day delivery commitment. It’s advisable to check with USPS or your local post office for specific information on delivery times based on your area and the delivery address.

SLAS and Priority Express Shipping

USPS’s Service Level Agreement (SLA) outlines the terms and conditions for Priority Mail Express shipping. Familiarize yourself with these policies, such as refunds, to make the most of the service.

FAQs

  1. Does Priority Mail Express require a special envelope?

While the U.S. Postal Service offers specialized packaging, such as flat-rate envelopes, you can use your own suitable containers when shipping through Priority Mail Express.

  1. How reliable is Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express?

Priority Mail Express is known for its timely deliveries and money-back guarantee, making it a reliable option when time is of the essence. While Priority Mail is also reliable, it doesn’t offer guarantees and has a broader delivery timeframe, making it less suitable for time-sensitive mail.

  1. Can you ship Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express to a P.O. Box?

Yes. You can send Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, and even Certified Mail shipments to a P.O. Box, providing a convenient option for recipients away from their delivery address or those who want to manage their incoming mail at a secure and private location.

  1. Does Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express offer same-day delivery?

While Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express have delivery windows as short as one day, the same-day delivery option is unavailable for either service.

References

  1. Priority Mail Express
    https://www.usps.com/ship/priority-mail-express.htm
  2. Priority Mail Express
    https://pe.usps.com/BusinessMail101/Index
  3. Price List
    https://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/notice123.htm
  4. How to send USPS Priority Express Mail
    https://www.mailform.io/lp/usps-priority-mail-express
  5. USPS Priority Mail Express: What You Need to Know
    https://www.shippingschool.com/usps-priority-mail-express
  6. USPS Tracking® – The Basics
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/USPS-Tracking-The-Basics
  7. International Shipping Restrictions, Prohibitions, & HAZMAT
    https://www.usps.com/international/shipping-restrictions.htm
  8. Manage Your Business Mail
    https://www.usps.com/business/manage-mail.htm
  9. Priority Mail
    https://www.usps.com/ship/priority-mail.htm
  10. What is Priority Mail®?
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/What-is-Priority-Mail
  11. What Priority Mail® Flat Rate Boxes Are Available?
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/What-Priority-Mail-Flat-Rate-Boxes
  12. USPS Tracking Plus® – The Basics
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/USPS-Tracking-Plus-The-Basics
  13. Global Express Guaranteed
    https://www.usps.com/international/gxg.htm
  14. How to send USPS Priority Express Mail
    https://www.mailform.io/lp/usps-priority-mail-express
  15. PO Box™ – The Basics
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/PO-Box-The-Basics