USPS Ground Advantage: New USPS Domestic Shipping Service

USPS Ground AdvantageUntil recently, the United States Postal Service offered several economical ground domestic shipping options: First-Class Package Service, Retail Ground, and Parcel Select Ground. However, this changed on July 9, 2023, when all three services were incorporated into a new one named USPS Ground Advantage. What are its main features and benefits?

In March 2021, the USPS announced its Delivering for America plan to modernize its service and achieve financial sustainability. The plan’s goal is to make the service more reliable and predictable while breaking even. The introduction of a new enhanced ground product was part of this plan.

The Postal Regulatory Commission granted approval to discontinue USPS Retail Ground and Parcel Select Ground, and expand First-Class Package Service to parcels weighing up to 70 pounds (as opposed to 15.999 ounces) in October 2022. In February 2023, the USPS announced that its new enhanced ground product would be named USPS Ground Advantage and that three previously existing ground services would be incorporated into it.

USPS Ground Advantage was launched on July 9, 2023. It is now the default affordable ground domestic shipping service offered by the USPS. USPS Ground Advantage is marketed as a simple and reliable way to ship packages under 70 lbs within the United States, including all 50 states, possessions, territories, freely associated states, and overseas military bases (APO/FPO addresses), in 2–5 business days.

At the time of its introduction, USPS Ground Advantage prices started at $4.75 (per an item under 4 oz shipped within Zone 1, i.e. non-local destinations within 50 miles). There are price tiers based on package weight, size and shape. Packages up to 15.999 oz have four tiers: up to 4, 8, 12, and 15.999 oz. The weight is rounded up to the nearest tier; for instance, a package weighing 8.3 oz will be charged at the 12-oz price.

Packages weighing between 15.999 oz and 70 lbs are rated by the pound, rounded up to the next pound. For example, you will need to pay the 12-lb price for a package weighing 11.2 lb. It should be noted that parcels exceeding one cubic foot may be charged based on their dimensional weight if it is greater than their actual weight.

The oversized price (nonstandard fee) is used on packages that exceed 108 inches in combined length and girth (note that maximum combined length and girth for USPS Ground Advantage items is 130 inches), packages between 22 and 30 inches long, packages longer than 30 inches, and packages over 2 cubic feet.

You also should know that certain large First-Class Mail envelopes (flats) may be treated as Ground Advantage items and charged accordingly. This includes rigid envelopes that can’t be bent, non-rectangular envelopes, lumpy envelopes, and envelopes that are thicker than ¼ inch, higher than 6 and 1/8 inch, or longer than 11 and ½ inch.

Shipping price includes tracking, $100 insurance on outbound and return packages, and the option of free package pickup. It is possible to purchase additional coverage of up to $5,000 against loss or damage for merchandise.

Another thing that’s notable about USPS Ground Advantage is that the USPS offers its as the primary option for shipping hazardous materials that are not mailable using air transportation. Don’t forget to check out the rules and regulations regarding mailing HAZMAT before sending hazardous materials via USPS Ground Advantage.

So, to put it short, USPS Ground Advantage is the United States Postal Service’s new primary ground shipping service that has a number of benefits: reliability, convenience, affordable pricing, tracking included in shipping price, quick delivery within 2–5 business days, and a free returns service. If you print your shipping labels yourself and prefer affordable ground shipping, look for USPS Ground Advantage when selecting the shipping method, since First-Class Package Service and Retail Ground are no longer available.