What is Priority Mail?
What is Priority Mail?

There are numerous ways to send packages or envelopes from the U.S. Postal Service, and there are vendors outside the postal system that also mail packages and envelopes. With the advent of online technology, more services have been created that allow you to send mail from anywhere to anywhere. Still, the United States Postal Service remains a popular means of sending and receiving mail, and their Priority Mail service is one of the most popular options.

What Does Priority Mail Mean?

Priority Mail describes the USPS' standard air service mailing option that delivers a package or envelope in one to three business days. Charges are based on package weight and the zone of the package's destination. Priority Mail also has flat-rate options, which allow for any package up to 70 pounds to be sent for the same flat rate, regardless of the contents. Priority Mail Flat Rate eliminates the need to weigh your package or to calculate a shipping fee based on your package's weight or destination. Instead, boxes and envelopes of varying sizes are available either at the post office or for home delivery. Customers pay the shipping charges based on the dimensions of the box they choose, rather than the weight of the box or the distance the package is traveling. Priority Mail Express is an additional shipping option that guarantees delivery overnight and has an option for a signature requirement.

How Much Does It Cost to Send Priority Mail?

As with all USPS costs, pricing is subject to change. Priority Mail charges depend on the weight and dimensions of your package, as well as the package's destination. The destination costs are calculated by zone, so the farther the destination zone is from the zone of origin, the more expensive the shipping cost will be. Priority Mail Flat Rate service, on the other hand, has a price structure based on the dimensions of the Flat Rate box you choose. Flat Rate box prices begin at $6.70 for the smallest size envelope; the largest box costs $17.40.

How to Send Priority Mail

You can send Priority Mail in a variety of ways. The traditional and most obvious method is to visit your local post office where you can select the box or envelope that best fits your shipping needs and have it weighed, labeled and sent for you. You can also order Priority Mail shipping supplies online, provided you know the exact weight and dimensions of your package. If you prefer to send your package with the Flat Rate option, you can order that box or envelope as well and have it delivered to your home or office. Then you can send your package from your local post office or have your postal carrier pick it up. Online mail services and third-party vendors also provide resources for customers who want to use Priority Mail.