USPS Ground Advantage Shipping: What To Know in 2024

USPS can be an ideal solution for mailing packages that aren't time sensitive. Here's what to know about the USPS ground advantage service
Person delivering package.

USPS is known for their reliable and efficient delivery services. They offer several types of shipping options to send packages domestically and internationally. No matter your situation, USPS has a shipping solution for you. If you need to send a package domestically that isn't time sensitive, USPS Ground Advantage shipping service is a reliable choice. With transit times usually ranging from 2-5 business days, USPS Ground shipping is a popular choice to save money while also ensuring timely delivery.

Service Features

USPS Ground Shipping has several advantages to consider. The service allows you to ship to all 50 states, U.S. military bases, territories, possessions, and Freely Associated States. It is known for being an affordable delivery option for individuals and business alike. Prices start at just $5.00 at the USPS post office with additional savings available with the Click-N-Ship service. Packages are delivered in 2-5 business days and the USPS tracking service is include within the price. Other features include:

  • Free Package Pickupat your home or office.
  • $100 insurance is included (for both outbound and return shipments), and you can purchase up to $5,000 in additional coverage against loss or damage for merchandise.
  • Includes forwarding, undeliverable as addressed (UAA), and return to sender (RTS) at no additional cost.
  • USPS Label Delivery service: Even if you don't have a printer, you can still ship online usingenhanced Click-N-Shipservice for an extra $1.25 per label. USPS will print an outbound label and deliver it to you.

While USPS Ground shipping is a quality service, there are certain factors that could determine whether or not it is the best fit for you. If you have time sensitive items that need to be delivered, USPS Ground shipping will not be an optimal choice. Delivery times range from 2-5 business days not factoring in any delays.

Another disadvantage of USPS Ground shipping is the weight and size restrictions for packages. This can be problematic for senders looking to ship large or heavy items, as they may need to use other shipping methods to accommodate their needs.

Why and When Was the Program Launched?

The USPS Ground Advantage service launched on July 9, 2023. The service replaces USPS Parcel Select Ground, USPS Retail Ground, USPS First-Class Package Service, Ground Returns and First-Class Package Return Service. It was designed to simplify pricing and service options for packages up to 70 pounds and up to 130 inches in length plus girth. USPS is focused on strengthening their shipping solutions as part of the Postal Service's 10-year strategic plan for overall improvement.

Who Is the Service Best For?

USPS recommends the Ground Shipping service for packages up to 15.999 ounces, based on weight (rounded up to 4 ounces, 8 ounces, 12 ounces, and 15.999 ounces). It is also the primary option for sending hazardous materials (HAZMAT) that can only be mailed through ground transportation. E-commerce businesses can benefit from USPS Ground Advantage by taking advantage of its low cost and $100 of insurance per package. Businesses that send out bulk packages regularly can earn significant savings by signing up for the service.

Who Is the Service Not For?

The USPS Ground Advantage service is not for those with time critical packages to be delivered. There are faster and more reliable options available with more enhanced features than what Ground Advantage can offer. Below is a comparison between USPS Ground Advantage and several similar services.

Carrier Ground Service Delivery Timeframes Maximum Weight Insurance or Carrier Liability
USPS USPS Ground Advantage 2-5 business days 70 pounds $100 included
UPS UPS Ground 1-5 business days 150 pounds $100 included
FedEx FedEx Ground 1-5 business days 150 pounds $100 included
DHL Ground (for SmartMail Parcel and SmartMail Parcel Plus) 3-8 business days Up to 16 ounces for Parcel and 25 pounds for Parcel Plus $100 included

The service may also not be a good fit for those who are looking to ship larger items.

Below are the required attributes for USPS Ground Advantage.

Flats (Large Envelopes) Being Treated as Packages

You'll need to pay the Ground Advantage price if you have a large First-Class Mail envelope that is:

Packages up to 15.999 Ounces

  • Price tiers are: up to 4 ounces; up to 8 ounces; up to 12 ounces; and up to 15.999 ounces. Round up to the nearest tier: For example, if your package weighs 4.2 ounces, you'll pay the 8 ounce price.
  • Items over 15.999 ounces round up to 1 pound and pay pound-rate prices.

Packages over 15.999 ounces and up to 70 pounds

  • Maximum weight is 70 pounds.
  • For items over 15.999 ounces (which rounds up to 1 pound), rates are by the pound, rounded up. For example, if your package weighs 8.3 pounds, you will pay the 9 pound price.
  • Maximum combined length and girth (girth is the distance around the thickest part) is 130 inches.

How Long Does Ground Advantage Take?

USPS Ground Advantage takes around 2-5 days to complete delivery. Transit times could increase due to numerous factors such as severe weather conditions. If your scheduled package does not arrive with 5 days, call customer support with your tracking number available.

USPS Ground Advantage vs First Class

USPS Ground Advantage is essentially a rebranding of USPS First Class Packaging Service. The main difference between the two is that Ground Advantage includes insurance. Going forward, USPS First-Class Mail will only service postcards and envelopes.

Shipping Deadlines

If you are looking to send packages during the holiday season it is important to mind USPS deadlines for shipping. USPS will ship to all 50 states including Alaska and Hawaii. Below are the holiday shipping deadlines for the U.S. military and consulates.

  • USPS Ground Advantage December 16
  • First-Class Mail (including greeting cards) December 16
  • Priority Mail December 18
  • Priority Mail Express December 20

Deadlines for Shipping to Alaska:

  • USPS Ground Advantage December 16
  • First-Class Mail December 16
  • Priority Mail December 18
  • Priority Mail Express December 20

Deadlines for Shipping to Hawaii:

  • USPS Ground Advantage December 16
  • First-Class Mail December 16
  • Priority Mail December 16
  • Priority Mail Express December 20

Deadlines for Shipping to Military or Consulate Post Offices, Including Air/Army (APO), Fleet (FPO), and Diplomatic (DPO)

  • First-Class Mail December 9
  • Priority Mail December 9
  • Priority Mail Express Military Service December 15 (not available for ZIPs 093)

How Does Seasonality Affect the Service?

Delivery times can vary depending on the time of the year. Extreme weather during certain seasons such as snowstorms and heatwaves can slow the flow of mail. The USPS adjusts its operations and staffing levels to adapt to these factors and keep services running. During the holiday season there is a larger volume of mail being processed and delivered. This can lead to a significant increase in delivery times.

Customers have responded positively to the new USPS Ground Advantage service. Residents of Hawaii and Alaska have applauded the faster delivery times as well as the free return service. If you need a reliable shipping service for items that are not time sensitive, USPS Ground is a smart option to consider. Visit the USPS for information on the service as well as pricing and delivery rates.

What Else Should I Consider?

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