Ground Advantage vs Priority Mail: The Differences Between the Two USPS Services

Learn about the similarities and differences between the USPS services Ground Advantage & Priority Mail, and how to save the most money on these labels
Is Ground Advantage the Same as Priority Mail
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USPS launched Ground Advantage in July of 2023, and since then, it has become one of the most popular shipping services that the U.S. Postal Service offers, alongside Priority Mail. Since Ground Advantage and Priority Mail can have similar price points (depending on what you’re sending), some shippers may not know which service to choose from. This article goes over the key differences between USPS Ground Advantage vs Priority Mail…and highlights some of the things these two services have in common, too.

Table of Contents

What Ground Advantage & Priority Mail Have in Common

In case it isn’t obvious by now, Ground Advantage and Priority Mail are two different shipping services offered by the U.S. Postal Service. That said, they have one thing in common: they both include some level of built-in USPS insurance. Priority Mail labels come with $50 of insurance per package*, and Ground Advantage labels come with $100.

Whether you’re shipping with Priority Mail or Ground Advantage, you can file an insurance claim with USPS to get reimbursed for up to the total amount of insurance that comes with your label if your package gets lost during transit or if any of the contents arrive damaged.

Note*: Priority Mail insurance gets bumped up to $100 per label when you use shipping software instead of buying postage at your local Post Office. We’ll get to that at the bottom of this article!

USPS Ground Advantage vs Priority Mail: The Four Main Differences

Now that we’ve highlighted what Priority Mail and Ground Advantage have in common, it’s time to go over what they don’t. We’ve listed the four main differences between these two popular USPS services below.

1. Ground Advantage is Slower and More Affordable

First and foremost, Ground Advantage is a slower and more affordable service than Priority Mail. While USPS advertises that Priority Mail shipments can take anywhere from 1-3 business days to be delivered, Ground Advantage has a longer timeframe of 2-5 business days.

Generally speaking, the slower the service, the cheaper it is. So, Ground Advantage takes the cake if you’re looking to save the most money on shipments that don’t require time-sensitive delivery.

2. Priority Mail Shipments Travel via Air Transportation

Perhaps the biggest difference between these two services is that Priority Mail shipments travel via air transportation, while Ground Advantage shipments do not. As the name of the service suggests, USPS transports all Ground Advantage shipments via ground-based transportation…hence, the slower delivery timeframes.

3. Ground Advantage Doesn’t Have Any Free Packaging Options

One big draw of Priority Mail is that shippers can access free packaging options on the USPS website. This can save shippers a ton of money on packing materials, especially if they need to purchase boxes in bulk for batches of shipments.

On the other hand, Ground Advantage doesn’t feature any free packaging options. When you ship with Ground Advantage, you are responsible for providing your own packaging.

4. Priority Mail Comes With Flat Rate Sub-services

A final difference between these two services is that Priority Mail comes with a variety of flat-rate sub-services, while Ground Advantage does not. This means that the cost to ship with the different Priority Mail Flat Rate services stays the same, no matter how much the package weighs and how far it needs to travel.

All the different Priority Mail Flat Rate options are listed below:

  • Flat Rate Envelope
  • Flat Rate Legal Envelope
  • Flat Rate Padded Envelope
  • Small Flat Rate Box
  • Medium Flat Rate Box
  • Large Flat Rate Box

Pro Tip: Priority Mail Flat Rate options are available for both domestic and international shipments.

Both Services Are Available At Post Offices and Through Shipping Software

Shippers interested in purchasing Priority Mail or Ground Advantage postage can do so either at their local Post Office or through online shipping software solutions. That said, while you can get postage at the Post Office, we strongly recommend using shipping software to purchase discounted postage online.

When you use shipping software, you get access to special USPS discounts that can save you a ton of money if you’re sending a lot of packages. These discounts are known in the industry as Commercial Pricing rates, and the only rates available at Post Offices are Retail Rates. In some cases, the cost to purchase a label at Commercial Pricing rates may be up to 89% cheaper than it would be to ship the same box at the Post Office with Retail Rates.

On top of saving money, shipping software also saves you time by allowing you to buy and print your postage from your own home or office. You can even schedule pickups for your packages, so you never have to wait in line at the Post Office again!


Looking for the right shipping software for you?

To get the deepest discounts on Ground Advantage & Priority Mail labels, check out our guide:

Choose the Best Shipping Software

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One Comment

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  1. Antonio

    I ordered 2 items from ebay that used GA. The first was lost, the 2nd took 46 days to get to me after believing it was lost with no package updates for 43 days. Advantage is awful. I now request that no one uses it and I will happily pay for priority every time. Never had an issue with priority for over 20 years. DeJoy had made a broken postal system worse.

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