USPS Ground Advantage Service: What You Need to Know

An in-depth look at the Postal Service's newest shipping service for lightweight and heavy packages that are delivered entirely through ground transportation
USPS Ground Advantage service
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The US Postal Service rolled out the new shipping service USPS Ground Advantage on July 9th, 2023. Here’s an in-depth look at everything you need to know about this ground-based service for both lightweight and heavy packages up to 70 pounds.

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USPS Combined First Class Package and Retail/Parcel Select Ground into Ground Advantage

The main thing to note about USPS Ground Advantage is that the Postal Service combined two of its previous shipping services: First Class Package and Retail/Parcel Select Ground. Combining those two services into a single offering is a part of the Postal Service’s 10-year plan to turn itself around under Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.

First Class Package was an air-based service, and USPS relied on commercial planes to transport these packages. Air transportation is more expensive than ground transportation, and continuing to offer First Class Package service for lightweight shipments resulted in costs that USPS could no longer justify.

With USPS Ground Advantage, USPS will lower its operating costs by injecting more packages into its ground network and away from air transportation. From July 9th, 2023, any packages that weigh less than 15.99 ounces—which would have formerly defaulted to First Class Package—now default to USPS Ground Advantage. With these changes, both USPS and its customers can expect to save more money on lightweight and heavier packages.

Delivery Timeframes are 2-5 Business Days

The delivery timeframe for USPS Ground Advantage is 2-5 business days (though keep in mind that these are only estimates and not guarantees; the only money-back guaranteed service USPS offers is Priority Mail Express). USPS provides Ground Advantage service to all 50 states, including Alaska and Hawaii. It also is available for shipping to U.S. territories and U.S. military bases located overseas.

Learn more about how to ship to military addresses.

USPS Ground Advantage Comes With Built-in Insurance

Neither First Class Package nor Retail/Parcel Select Ground came with any USPS insurance. USPS Ground Advantage, however, does include built-in USPS insurance with each label. Every Ground Advantage label comes with $100 of insurance, no matter whether you purchase labels at Retail or Commercial Pricing. With this coverage, shippers will be able to file claims for up to $100 of declared value in the event that their Ground Advantage packages go missing during transit or show up at their final destinations with damaged contents.

Non-Standard Fees May Apply to Packages

Ground Advantage has a maximum weight of 70 pounds per mailpiece. Each parcel also can have a maximum size of 130 inches in combined Length + Girth. Like other USPS services, Ground Advantage packages are subject to USPS surcharges known as “non-standard fees” if

Here is a list of the non-standard package fees you may be subject to when shipping Ground Advantage:

  • $4 if any length of your package exceeds 22 inches but is less than or equal to 30 inches
  • $8.40 if any length of your package exceeds 30 inches
  • $18 for packages greater than 2 cubic feet in volume
  • $1.50 for missing or incorrect dimensions that result in any of the above surcharges

Access Cheaper USPS Ground Advantage Rates with Online Shipping Software

Like with every other USPS shipping service, you can save money on labels by using online shipping software to take advantage of the deepest discounts USPS provides.

When you use shipping software to buy postage online, you access the deepest level of discounts that USPS offers, known as Commercial Pricing. In some cases, Commercial Pricing rates will save you up to 86% off what you’d pay to ship the same package at the Post Office with USPS Ground Advantage!

You’ll never find these discounts at the Post Office, and USPS reserves those savings for commercial shippers sending 50,000 or more packages per year. Some shipping software companies allow you to access these rates for a small monthly fee…but the best shipping software companies out there pass these savings onto you for free.

In addition to providing you with the deepest possible USPS discounts, most shipping software gives you the option to schedule free pickups for Ground Advantage shipments. You can schedule pickups for your letter carrier to grab your packages at your home, office, or any other designated address you’re shipping from. This way, you can totally skip the long lines at the Post Office.

Looking for the right shipping software for you?

To access the deepest discounts on all USPS services, check out our guide:

Choose the Best Shipping Software

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    Worst shipping option in existence, tracking data is literally a scam, you have no idea where that package truly is, from LA to WI used to take two or three days, today its eight days!

  2. michael c blanco

    ground advantage is louis dejoys way of killing usps; whie making people think theyre getting a deal. it may be a deal for a seller. not a buyer!

  3. Craig

    A vendor shipped via Ground Advantage to my FPO address in Japan. It left Texas Aug 23, 2023 and arrived in San Fran, CA Aug 25, 2023 and no tracking since. My assumption is possibly by surface ocean freight and not like first class air mail as stated by USPS. I’ll learn something new to consider about this new service.

  4. Katherine

    It’s taking 16 days for my package to get to Hawaii from Las Vegas, NV. From Las Vegas, to San Fran it’s taking 7 days. It’s not like it’s December during the holidays. When you google how long it takes from Las Vegas to Hawaii, the answer comes up 2-5 days. Also, I bought a USPS postal scale, and the package was 1 oz more through USPS and they charged me $20.59 more and changed it to Priority. PirateShip is advocating for me but still have to wait 2-4 weeks for the refund IF USPS is wrong. Thank God I took a screenshot of the label on the 12” x 12” x 12” box that says Ground Advantage Cubic. PirateShip also said USPS dropped the ball. SMH!

    • Carol Perez

      I retired from USPS after a 20 year Letter Carrier career. It saddens me how the USPS shipping rates have skyrocketed without improving their delivery service time frames. I cannot justify spending my shipping dollars with USPS when UPS offers me faster, cheaper and much more reliable service and products! Maybe USPS taking on the Amazon contract was too much to handle. I rarely go to the post office for anything anymore. So sad that my previous employer has come to this conclusion. I don’t think this new USPS Ground Advantage will be successful at any rate!

    • Melyn

      Hi, I’m another retired USPS employee with 33 years invested. I also ship as I am a seller on Amazon and EBay. I can tell you that just 1 oz or 1 inch can totally change the price of a parcel. If your box was 1 oz more than what you paid for, they’re going to catch it. If it’s 1” more than you pay for it can bump your price up to the next service, I.e. from ground advantage to PRIORITY, which is a much higher price because of going by AIR and not GROUND like Ground Advantage does. If you used a postage scale to weigh the package for postage estimates, it should not have been over the weight you paid for. Sounds to me like you were trying to get away with not paying for what you were actually shipping. Sorry, but……

      • Katherine

        Well, I got refunded the $20.59 by USPS. If the weight (I bought the scale from USPS) is .02 more, I always bump it up to the next ounce. USPS SUCKS!

  5. Bea

    As of yesterday (haven’t checked if the bug had been fixed today), USPS’s site is giving out incorrect rates for Ground Advantage large package. It is not factoring in the large package dimensional weight in the Calculate a Price page. Furthermore when attempting to create a label, the price shown at checkout doesn’t even include the $7 surcharge fee for over 30″ box, or the $15 fee for it being over 2 cubic ft.

    eq: Shipping an 11 lb, 34x17x11″ pkg to zone 7. The Calculate a Price page is showing a $50 rate. And when you try to create a label, it shows a $28 rate, which is missing the $7 and $15 surcharge fees. The rates its returning are based on an 11 lb package under 1 cbf, and not on a 39 lb dimensional weight pkg.

    The correct commercial rate for the large package at those dims with all the fees added is $110.

    3rd party shipping programs like PirateShip, ShipRush, etc, seem to be getting it right. They’re quoting back the correct $110 rate.


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