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How Long Does USPS Priority Mail Express Take?

How Long Does USPS Priority Mail Express Take

The USPS has been the official mail carrier for the United States of America and its territories for almost 250 years. 

It has been in service since its creation in the 1770s when horse and cart delivered mail. Now, after centuries of growth and evolution, it is well-oiled mail, parcel, and package delivery system that can get your mail to its proposed destination very quickly.

But, How long does USPS Priority Mail Express take?

Is this service the quickest way to get important mail delivered?

 Let’s find out…

What Is Priority Mail Express?

Priority Mail Express is the fastest mail service offered by The United States Postal Service that guarantees to ship across America overnight or in two days.

 The destination address must fall into zones one and two of their zoning system, but the majority of addresses do. See here for more USPS Zoning Information. It’s a step up both in shorter days and higher prices from Priority Mail. But if you require your item to arrive sooner rather than later, then I highly recommend it. 

Money-back guarantee!

USPS Priority Mail Express service provides a money-back guarantee for next-day to 2-day deliveries, which also means your delivery by 6 p.m. Features of Priority Mail Express include shipping insurance coverage up to $100 and compensation due to damage or loss in transit.

 The prices are competitive and are available year-round (with limited exceptions) to most U.S. addresses and PO Boxes. If, for some unforeseen circumstance, it doesn’t arrive by that time, then you can file for a refund. 

The Difference Between Priority Mail And Express

The main difference between them is that Priority Mail Express is the faster delivery service of the two. Priority Mail Express guarantees 1 – 2 days, while Priority Mail guarantees 1 – 3 days. Plus, albeit for an additional $12.50 surcharge, you have the option of choosing to have mail delivered on Sundays and holidays. Which is something you do not get with Priority or First Class mail.

Prices of Sizes and Dimensions

While both services have the same weight and size limits for packages, the last difference is in the price. In some instances, the cost of sending the same size and weight package can be threefold! However, if you require your package to be expedited, then Priority Mail Express will ensure the fastest delivery time.

The Difference Between Priority Mail And Express

Next, let’s check out the size guides and the difference in pricing. 

Size Dimensions Priority Mail Prices Priority Mail Express Prices Recommended For
Flat Rate Envelope  12 1/2″ x 9 1/2″

(31 cm x 24 cm)

$28.75   $9.65 Passports & Applications



Legal Flat Rate Envelope 15″ x 9 1/2″

(38cm x 24 cm)

$28.95  $9.95 Legal Documents
Padded Flat Rate Envelope 12 1/2″ x 9 1/2″

(32 cm x 24 cm)

$29.45 $10.40 Clothing


Boxed Jewelry

Overnight Shipping

Priority Mail Express is a guaranteed service for both expedited overnight and two-day shipping services. Therefore, if it doesn’t arrive during its designated time frame, then you can apply for a refund.

As you process the package, you will be notified if it falls into the 1 or 2-day shipping category; this information should be on your receipt of purchase. Usually, all overnight deliveries are guaranteed to be delivered by 3:00 p.m. at the destination time zone. Whereas 2-day shipping is guaranteed by 6 p.m. 

Overnight Shipping

What’s The Difference Between Express And Flat Rate Express?

The main difference is how the item is packaged. Are you using your own box to send the item or a USPS envelope or box? If the former, then you will have to calculate the dimensions and weight to make sure it meets the USPS mailing standards.

 It’ll need to be under 70 lbs and fit in with the USPS standard sizing. If it doesn’t, it will incur another fee. But more on extra fees and pricing a little later. If the latter, read on. 

Using A USPS Flate Rate Envelope Or Box

This is definitely an easier option. If you are sending something lightweight and small, then go for one of the three sizes of envelopes, of which you’ll pay one “flat rate” for up to 70 lbs. 

If the item is bigger than envelope size, then I recommend using one of various sized USPS Priority Mail Express Mailing Boxes. This way, you’ll only be charged for the weight and zone (distance), and there will be no additional surcharge for irregularly shaped and sized packaging. The maximum weight, regardless of parcel size, is 70 lbs.

Using A USPS Flate Rate Envelope Or Box

If you chose to use USPS packaging, you’ll be able to take advantage of the following perks…

  • Parcel Pickup Service – direct from your office or home locations.
  • USPS Online Tracking.
  • Free Insurance – Worth $100 with most shipments.
  • Recorded Proof of Delivery – Via a signature.
  • USPS Label Delivery Service – If you ship via Click-N-Ship, the online service center, you can request a physical outbound label which will be delivered to your door for an additional fee of $1.25.

USPS envelopes and parcel boxes are only available at USPS.com. Otherwise, you’ll have to measure and weigh each package and work out the price you need to pay, which can become quite a hassle. Plus, if you get anything incorrect, you will be hit with yet another charge. 

Pro Tip – When sealing a Priority Mail Express Flat Rate Envelope, the securing flaps must be able to close within the normal folds.

What About If I Use My Own Box?

If you decide to pack your USPS shipment into your own packing box, you’ll also be set to pay for the box’s weight and zone. Again, the maximum weight is 70 lbs; however, you’ll need to put in some extra effort to make sure it meets the USPS size standards for shipped items. 

If the box you choose doesn’t fit the regulation standards, then you will incur some additional fees. For example, you’ll be hit with a DIM (Dimensional Weight Range which will happen if you are sending a large lightweight package.)

What About If I Use My Own Box

How to calculate the DIM?

The DIM is calculated by multiplying Length x Width x Height. Then divide this number 166 to determine the DIM weight in pounds. If it is greater than the actual package weight, then you will be charged this. As a note, it is always the heavier weight of the two which will be charged. 

Additional fees that can be incurred on your own packing boxes include not giving the correct dimensions, or not paying the DIM when sending, which will incur a dimension-noncompliance fee. Another you might get hit with is a non-standard fee, which is when you ship something that falls outside of the USPS standard-sized packaging range.

You can expect to pay an extra fee for sending a non-standard size if your package measures any of the following:

  • $4.00 surcharge – Between 22 and 30 inches long.
  • $15.00 surcharge – More than 30 inches long.
  • $25.00 surcharge – More than 2 cubic feet or 3,456 cubic inches.

PRO TIP: To make better sense of the above, I recommended using the USPS Price Calculator tool to calculate your domestic postage costs. 

Interesting Facts About USPS Shipping

If you’re shipping with the famous company, you might want to find out more, such as what is the difference between USPS Priority Mail vs First Class, and How Fast Is USPS First Class, as well as Does USPS Have First Class Tracking, and in case you’ve lost your receipt, Can You Track A USPS Package Without A Tracking Number?

Before you post iff your parcel, check out Where Can I Drop off USPS PackagesCan I Use Poly Mailers For USPSHow Much Is A PO Box At USPS, along with What Is USPS LiteblueDoes USPS Forward IRS And Other Government Mail, and How Long Does USPS Forward Mail, if you’ve recently moved.

You might also be wondering When Do USPS Trucks Go Out For DeliveryDoes USPS Deliver On Saturdays, and Does USPS Deliver On Sunday, or perhaps you’d like to learn more about What Is USPS Informed Delivery in 2023?

Final Thoughts

Priority Mail Express is a speedy and efficient way to deliver your mail across the United States and beyond. It remains the only way to deliver something overnight to a PO Box or valid address. 

It’s also the only way you can have a package arrive on a national or federal holiday! This service isn’t cheap compared to others that the USPS offers. However, nothing else can guarantee overnight or 2-day delivery, with a money-back guarantee. 

Happy quick shipping!

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