USPS Homepage Skip NavigationUSPS Home | Postal Explorer Home
  DMM TOC > 400 Commercial Parcels > 420 Priority Mail

423 Prices and Eligibility

1.0 Prices and Fees

1.1 Price Application

[1-4-10] The following price applications apply:

a. Except commercial plus items weighing up to 0.5 pound (see 1.1c) and commercial plus cubic items (see 1.1d), Priority Mail mailpieces are charged per pound; any fraction of a pound is rounded up to the next whole pound. For example, if a piece weighs 1.2 pounds, the weight (postage) increment is 2 pounds.

b. Flat-rate prices are not based on weight and zone but are charged a flat rate regardless of actual weight (up to 70 pounds) of the mailpiece and domestic destination.

c. The minimum postage amount per addressed piece is the 1-pound price except commercial plus items weighing up to 0.5 pound. Charge the 0.5-pound price for commercial plus items up to 0.5 pound. Items over 0.5 pound are rounded up to the next whole pound. For example, if a commercial plus piece weighs 0.25 pound, the weight (postage) increment is 0.5 pound; if a piece weighs 0.75 pound, the weight (postage) increment is 1 pound; if a piece weighs 1.2 pounds, the weight (postage) increment is 2 pounds.

d. Commercial plus cubic prices are not based on weight but are charged per cubic measurement of the mailpiece and zone.

e. Priority Mail items mailed under a specific customer agreement are charged according to the individual agreement.

1.2 Commercial Base Prices

[1-4-10] [10-5-09] For prices, see Notice 123-Price List. The commercial base prices are available for:

a. Click-N-Ship customers.

b. Registered end-users of USPS-approved PC Postage products when using a qualifying shipping label managed by the PC Postage system used.

c. Customers using permit imprint when a postal routing barcode matching the destination ZIP Code is on the mailpiece (see 708.5.0). Flat-shaped mailpieces (see 301.1.1) with permit imprints may bear a POSTNET or Intelligent Mail barcode (see 708.4.0) instead of the postal routing barcode.

d. Priority Mail Open and Distribute customers using permit imprint when a Service barcode containing a unique service type code 55 is on the address label under 705.16.5.7.

e. Customers who pay postage using information-based indicia (IBI) postage meters in conjunction with an approved shipping label that bears a confirmation services barcode with a postal routing code (see 708.5.0).

f. Customers using USPS-approved IBI postage meters that print the IBI with the appropriate price marking ("Commercial Base Price," "Commercial Base Pricing," or "ComBasPrice") and electronically transmit transactional data to the USPS.

g. Permit holders using Merchandise Return Service (MRS) for Priority Mail mailpieces when all MRS requirements are met (507.11.0).

1.3 Commercial Plus Prices

1.3.1 Existing Priority Mail Customers

[1-4-10] For prices, see Notice 123-Price List. Commercial plus prices are available to existing Priority Mail customers that are:

a. Registered end-users of USPS-approved PC Postage products who qualify for commercial base prices and whose account volume exceeds 100,000 pieces in the previous calendar year or who have a customer commitment agreement with the USPS (see 1.3.2).

b. Permit imprint customers who qualify for commercial base prices and whose account volume exceeds 100,000 pieces in the previous calendar year or who have a customer commitment agreement with the USPS (see 1.3.2).

c. Priority Mail Open and Distribute (PMOD) customers who qualify for commercial base prices and whose account volume exceeds 600 PMOD containers (see 705.16.5.1) in the previous calendar year or who have a customer commitment agreement with the USPS (see 1.3.2).

d. Permit holders using MRS for Priority Mail items who qualify for commercial base prices and whose account volumes exceed 100,000 pieces in the previous calendar year or who have a customer commitment agreement with the USPS (see 1.3.2).

1.3.2 New Priority Mail Customers

Commercial plus prices are available for new Priority Mail customers who have a customer commitment agreement with the USPS. Shippers must contact their account manager or the manager, Sales and Communication, Expedited Shipping (see 608.8.0 for address) for additional information.

1.4 Commercial Plus Cubic

1.4.1 Existing Priority Mail Customers

[1-4-10] Commercial plus cubic prices are available to existing Priority Mail customers who present qualifying mailpieces that measure .50 cubic foot or less, weigh 20 pounds or less, and not exceed the maximum girth and length standard for parcels. The commercial plus cubic prices are available for:

a. Registered end-users of USPS-approved PC Postage products who qualify for commercial base prices and whose account volumes exceed 250,000 pieces in the previous calendar year or who have a customer commitment agreement with the USPS (see 1.3.2).

b. Permit imprint customers who qualify for commercial base prices and whose account volumes exceed 250,000 pieces in the previous calendar year or who have a customer commitment agreement with the USPS (see 1.3.2). Customers are required to use the Electronic Verification System (eVS) program or submit an electronic postage statement with a computerized manifest under 705.2.0. Mailings must contain at least 200 pieces or 50 pounds of mail. Mailpieces are not required to be identical in weight.

1.4.2 Commercial Plus Cubic Tiers

For prices, see the Notice 123—Price List. Cubic prices consist of the following five tiers:

a. Tier 1 - mailpieces measuring up to .10 cubic foot

b. Tier 2 - mailpieces measuring more than .10 up to .20 cubic foot

c. Tier 3 - mailpieces measuring more than .20 up to .30 cubic foot

d. Tier 4 - mailpieces measuring more than .30 up to .40 cubic foot

e. Tier 5 - mailpieces measuring more than .40 up to .50 cubic foot

1.4.3 Determining Cubic Tier Measurements for Rectangular and Nonrectangular Parcels

Follow these steps to determine the cubic tier measurement for rectangular and nonrectangular parcels:

a. Measure the length, width, and height in inches. Round off (see 604.7.0) each measurement to the nearest whole inch.

b. Multiply the length by the width by the height and divide by 1728. [Example: 6 x 6 x 6 = 216 divided by 1728 = .125; this piece exceeds .10 (Tier 1 threshold). It will be calculated at Tier 2 prices - .101 to .20.]

1.4.4 New Priority Mail Customers

Commercial plus cubic prices are available for new Priority Mail customers who have a customer commitment agreement with the USPS. Shippers must contact their account manager or the manager, Sales and Communication, Expedited Shipping (see 608.8.0 for address) for additional information.

1.5 Balloon Price

Parcels addressed for delivery to Zones 1-4 (including Local) that weigh less than 20 pounds but measure more than 84 inches (but not more than 108 inches) in combined length and girth are charged the applicable zone price for a 20-pound parcel (balloon price).

1.6 Dimensional Weight Price for Low-Density Parcels to Zones 5-8

Postage for parcels addressed for delivery to Zones 5-8 and exceeding 1 cubic foot (1,728 cubic inches) is based on the actual weight or the dimensional weight (as calculated in 1.6.1 or 1.6.2), whichever is greater.

1.6.1 Determining Dimensional Weight for Rectangular Parcels

Follow these steps to determine the dimensional weight for a rectangular parcel:

a. Measure the length, width, and height in inches. Round off (see 604.7.0) each measurement to the nearest whole inch.

b. Multiply the length by the width by the height.

c. If the result exceeds 1,728 cubic inches, divide the result by 194 and round up (see 604.7.0) to the next whole number to determine the dimensional weight in pounds.

1.6.2 Determining Dimensional Weight for Nonrectangular Parcels

Follow these steps to determine the dimensional weight for a nonrectangular parcel:

a. Measure the length, width, and height in inches at their extreme dimensions. Round off (see 604.7.0) each measurement to the nearest whole inch.

b. Multiply the length by the width by the height.

c. Multiply the result by an adjustment factor of 0.785.

d. If the final result exceeds 1,728 cubic inches, divide the result by 194 and round up (see 604.7.0) to the next whole number to determine the dimensional weight in pounds.

e. If the dimensional weight exceeds 70 pounds, the customer pays the 70-pound price.

1.7 Flat-Rate Envelopes and Boxes

Any amount of material may be mailed in a USPS-produced Priority Mail flat-rate box or flat-rate envelope. When sealing a flat-rate box or flat-rate envelope, the container flaps must be able to close within the normal folds. Tape may be applied to the flaps and seams to reinforce the container; provided the design of the container is not enlarged by opening the sides and the container is not reconstructed in any way.

1.7.1 Flat-Rate Envelopes-Price and Eligibility

[1-4-10] There are two types of USPS-produced Priority Mail flat-rate envelopes: A paper envelope and a padded envelope (for commercial plus only). Each type of USPS-produced Priority Mail flat-rate envelope is priced at a flat rate regardless of the actual weight (up to 70 pounds) of the mailpiece or domestic destination. See the Notice 123—Price List for applicable prices.

1.7.2 Flat-Rate Boxes-Price and Eligibility

[1-4-10] For shipping convenience, there are multiple Priority Mail flat-rate boxes as follows: Small flat-rate box to domestic, APO/FPO, and DPO destinations; regular/medium flat-rate boxes (FRB-1) or (FRB-2) to domestic, APO/FPO, and DPO destinations; Large flat-rate box or "special version of this box" to APO/FPO and DPO destinations; and large flat-rate box to domestic destinations only. The large flat-rate box to APO/FPO and DPO destinations or "special version of this box" is priced less than the conventional domestic large flat-rate box. Items sent to APO/FPO and DPO destination addresses may be shipped in the Priority Mail large flat-rate box or in a special version of the box identified with the additional logo: "Americasupportsyou.mil." If the special version of the APO/FPO flat-rate box is used for non-APO/FPO and DPO destination addresses, the domestic or international large flat-rate box prices will apply. Only USPS-produced flat-rate boxes are eligible for the flat-rate box prices. Each USPS-produced Priority Mail flat-rate box is charged a flat rate regardless of the actual weight (up to 70 pounds) of the mailpiece or domestic destination. See Notice 123—Price List for applicable prices.

1.8 Pickup on Demand Fee

[1-4-10] The Pickup on Demand fee is charged per occurrence. This service may be combined with Express Mail, Package Services, and international mail pickups (see 507.6.0). See Notice 123—Price List.

1.9 Determining Single-Piece Weight

To determine single-piece weight in any mailing of nonidentical-weight pieces, weigh each piece individually. To determine single-piece weight in a mailing of identical-weight pieces, weigh a sample group of at least 10 randomly selected pieces and divide the total sample weight by the number of pieces in the sample. Express all single-piece weights in decimal pounds rounded off to four decimal places.

1.10 Computing Postage

[11-29-09] Determine weight increment for each piece and pay postage under 424.1.0, Basic Standards for Postage Payment. For permit imprint mailings, multiply the number of addressed pieces at each weight increment by the corresponding postage price.

Back to Top

2.0 Content Standards for Priority Mail

2.1 General

All mailable matter may be sent as Priority Mail, except matter prohibited by standards (e.g., certain hazardous materials).

2.2 Matter Required to be Mailed as First-Class Mail

Unless Express Mail is used, Priority Mail prices are required for a mailpiece that weighs more than 13 ounces when the mailpiece contains matter that must be mailed as First-Class Mail. Complete descriptions of matter requiring the use of First-Class Mail are provided in 133.3.0.

Back to Top

3.0 Basic Standards for Priority Mail

3.1 Definition

[11-29-09] Priority Mail is an expedited service and may contain any mailable matter weighing no more than 70 pounds except for APO and FPO mail subject to 703.2.0, Overseas Military Maill, and 703.4.0, Mail Sent by U.S. Armed Forces, and Department of State mail subject to 703.3.0.

3.2 Service Objectives

All Priority Mail receives expeditious handling and transportation. The USPS follows uniform guidelines for distributing and delivering mail but does not guarantee delivery within the specified time. Local postmasters can provide more information.

3.3 Matter Closed Against Postal Inspection

Matter closed against postal inspection includes First-Class Mail, Priority Mail, and Express Mail. The USPS may open mail other than First-Class Mail, Priority Mail or Express Mail to determine whether the proper postage is paid. Material wrapped or packaged so that it cannot be examined easily or examined without destruction or serious damage is closed against postal inspection and is charged the appropriate First-Class Mail, Priority Mail, or Express Mail price.

Back to Top