Understanding Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express: Read the FAQs

Understanding Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express for a better customer experience when shipping.

Sat Jun 29 15:52:00 EDT 2013
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With the goal of making the customer experience of shipping with the U.S. Postal Service® an easy one, the Postal Service™ announced that it is updating its domestic Priority Mail® and Express Mail® services (usps.com) . As of July 28, 2013, the Postal Service™ will be providing day-specific delivery information for Priority Mail. In addition, domestic Priority Mail will now include, without additional charge, either $50 or $100 insurance for loss, damage, and missing merchandise*. Priority Mail International® will still be available for international shipments. Read about the most recent USPS postal rates here.

To simplify the product names, Express Mail will be called Priority Mail Express™. It remains the agency's fastest product available, offering the same great service as Express Mail just with a new name. Express Mail International® will be renamed Priority Mail Express International™.

Also read: Priority Mail vs. First-Class® Mail - How are they different?

The USPS® anticipated that with the proposed changes, mailers will have questions.  The following FAQs, prepared by the Postal Service, should address most concerns.  If after reading the FAQs you still have questions, please reach out to me via this posting's comment window. I'll be happy to provide additional details.

Priority Mail FAQs

1) Priority Mail is currently a 2-3 day service. What will be different? With Priority Mail, you’ll get an estimated service of 1 day, 2 days, or 3 days based on where you’re shipping your package from and where it’s being sent.

2) How will I know if my package will be 1, 2, or 3 day delivery? Delivery day will be determined by where you’re shipping your package from and where you’re sending it. The scheduled delivery day will be reflected on your payment receipt and in your USPS Tracking™ information.

3) Will the pricing be different based on the scheduled delivery day? There will be no price difference based on the scheduled delivery day. Current prices (January 27, 2013) will remain in place. Prices for all Postal Service™ products, including Priority Mail, can be accessed through our Price List.

4) Can I choose if I want 1, 2, or 3-day delivery? You will not be able to request 1, 2, or 3 day delivery. The scheduled delivery day will be determined by where you’re shipping your package from and where you’re sending it. However, if you need overnight delivery to most US addresses, including PO Boxes™, you can use Priority Mail Express, which remains our fastest service available to most locations.

5) Is the scheduled delivery day guaranteed? Priority Mail remains a non-guaranteed service. The Postal Service does not provide a money-back guarantee if items sent via Priority Mail fail to arrive by the scheduled delivery date. However, Priority Mail Express continues to provide a money-back guarantee* service.

6) Will there be any change in the packaging? And will I be able to use packaging I currently have? Yes, there will be new packaging. On or before July 28th, packaging supplies will have the new design and be available in all Post Offices and online. You’ll be able to use old packaging until your current stock runs out. Priority Mail and Priority Mail International use the same packaging.

7) Will there be any changes to the new Priority Mail online shipping label? Yes, the label will note if your package is expected to arrive in 1, 2, or 3 days.

8) What else has changed with Priority Mail? Most domestic Priority Mail products** will include up to $50 or $100 of insurance based on the payment method used. If you’re using a stamp or meter to add postage to your package, you’ll need to bring your package to the Post Office to receive the automatic insurance.

9) Has anything changed with Priority Mail International? Priority Mail International service will not change.

Priority Mail Express FAQs

1) What is different with Express Mail? Express Mail will be renamed Priority Mail Express. It remains our fastest product available, offering the same great service as Express Mail just with a new name.

2) Why is USPS® making this change?

Research has shown that our service names are confusing for customers, so in an effort to make shipping with USPS as easy as possible, we’re simplifying the name of our services.

3) Will the labels for domestic Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail Express International be different? Yes, the current Express Mail shipping label (Label 11B) that customers use at the Post Office™ for domestic shipping will be updated to reflect the name change from Express Mail to Priority Mail Express. For international shipping, customers will use the new Priority Mail Express International Shipping Label and Customs Form.

4) Will there be any change in the packaging? And will I be able to use packaging I currently have? Yes, there will be new packaging. On or before July 28th, packaging supplies will have the new design and be available in all Post Offices and online. You’ll be able to use old packaging until your current stock runs out. Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail Express International use the same packaging.

5) Can I use Priority Mail packaging to send Priority Mail Express shipments? No, the packaging and label indicates the service. So, if you use a Priority Mail box, you will receive Priority Mail Service, and if you use a Priority Mail Express box, you will receive Priority Mail Express Service.

6) Has anything changed with Insurance or other Extra Services? Nothing has changed with any of our Extra Services offerings, for domestic or international Priority Mail Express shipments. Up to $100 of insurance is still included at no extra charge with Domestic Priority Mail Express shipments. For international shipments, document reconstruction insurance up to $100 and merchandise insurance up to $200 is included, at no extra charge, against loss, damage, or missing contents. Additional coverage may be available for an additional fee.

7) Can I still use Express Mail Hold For Pickup and Express Mail Open & Distribute™? These services still exist but under the new name. “Express Mail Hold For Pickup” will be “Priority Mail Express Hold For Pickup” and “Express Mail Open and Distribute” will be “Priority Mail Express Open and Distribute.” At the end of July, the new packaging and labels for these services will be available online at The Postal Store® .

8) What is changing with Express Mail International? The Express Mail International service name is changing to Priority Mail Express International service. In addition, a new Priority Mail Express International Shipping Label and Customs Form will be available at retail to improve customer ease of use.

9) Why was the Priority Mail Express International™ Shipping Label and Customs Form created? The Priority Mail Express International Shipping Label and Customs Form simplifies retail Priority Mail Express International transactions by eliminating redundant data entry handwritten by customers on 2 forms.

10) Can the Priority Mail Express International Shipping Label and Customs Form be used on Priority Mail Express shipments destined to APO, FPO, or DPO locations? The new form may only be used for Priority Mail Express International. It cannot be used for Priority Mail Express shipments destined to APO, FPO, or DPO locations.

11) What is changing with Express Mail Corporate Account (EMCA)? Express Mail Corporate Account (EMCA) will be renamed USPS Corporate Account™ (USPSCA). Features will not change.

* Certain restrictions apply. See a Retail Associate or USPS.com for details.

** Automatic insurance coverage will not be offered with Priority Mail pieces sent using the following services: Merchandise Return Service, Priority Mail Open and Distribute®, or Premium Forwarding Service®.

Read about the most recent USPS postal rates here.