USPS: Plan ahead with pricing and shipping deadlines for the 2021 holiday season
New for the Holidays: Prices, Shipping Rates and Dates
The biggest question likely on most minds is, do we make merry in person or virtually? No matter your plans, the postal service is ready to do its part to handle your special holiday greetings and gifts. But they also need you to do your part, and that is to make sure you get those packages and good wishes to your post office location on time.
There are plenty of holiday- and winter- themed stamps available to adorn your greeting cards this year. You can find them in our online Postal Store or at any one of our more than 34,000 Post Office locations. As a reminder, on Aug. 29, the cost of a First-Class Forever stamp increased three cents, from 55 cents to 58 cents. There are also temporary price increases in place through Dec. 26, 12:01 a.m., Central time for both retail and business customers for some of our more popular shipping products, which also includes military shipping — Priority Mail Express (PME), Priority Mail (PM), First-Class Package Service (FCPS), Parcel Select, USPS Retail Ground, and Parcel Return Service. International products are unaffected.
These temporary rates will keep the Postal Service competitive while providing the agency with the revenue to cover extra costs in anticipation of peak-season volume surges similar to levels experienced in 2020.
Temporary pricing increases for Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, Parcel Select Ground and USPS Retail Ground, and First-Class Package Service are as follows:
- PM and PME Flat Rate Boxes and Envelopes – $0.75
- Zones 1-4, 0-10 lbs. – $0.25
- Zones 5-9, 0-10 lbs. – $0.75
- Zones 1-4, 11-20 lbs. – $1.50
- Zones 5-9, 11-20lbs. – $3.00
- Zones 1-4, 21-70 lbs. – $2.50
- Zones 5-9, 21-70 lbs. – $5.00
- First-Class Package Service – $0.30
A zone pricing calculator is can be found online. A complete list of business products and prices is also available online.
The temporary adjustment is part of “Delivering for America,” the Postal Service’s 10-year plan for achieving financial sustainability and service excellence, which calls for appropriate pricing initiatives. Even with the temporary increase, the Postal Service has some of the lowest mail postage rates in the industrialized world and continues to offer great values in shipping.
2021 Holiday Shipping Deadlines
The Postal Service recommends the following mailing and shipping deadlines for expected delivery by Dec. 25 to domestic addresses and APO/FPO/DPO (Air/Army Post Office/Fleet Post Office/Diplomatic Post Office) addresses*:
- Nov. 6 — APO/FPO/DPO (all ZIP Codes) USPS Retail Ground service
- Dec. 9 — APO/FPO/DPO (all ZIP Codes) Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
- Dec. 15 — USPS Retail Ground service
- Dec. 16 — APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP Code 093) USPS Priority Mail Express Military service
- Dec. 17 — First-Class Mail service (including greeting cards)
- Dec. 17 — First-class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)
- Dec. 18 — Priority Mail service
- Dec. 23 — Priority Mail Express* service
- Dec. 18 — Alaska to/from Continental U.S.– First-Class Mail
- Dec. 18 — Alaska to/from Continental U.S.– Priority Mail
- Dec. 21 — Alaska to/from Continental U.S.– Priority Mail Express
- Dec. 17 — Hawaii to/from mainland–Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
- Dec. 21 — Hawaii to/from mainland–Priority Mail Express
*Not a guarantee, unless otherwise noted. Dates are for estimated delivery before Dec. 25. Actual delivery date may vary depending on origin, destination, Post Office acceptance date and time, and other conditions. Some restrictions apply. For Priority Mail Express shipments mailed Dec. 22 through Dec. 25, the money-back guarantee applies only if the shipment was not delivered, or delivery was not attempted, within two business days.
Skip the Trip and Ship Online
Consumers don’t even have to leave home to ship their packages, simply visit usps.com. The Postal Service anticipates Dec. 19 will be the Postal Service’s busiest day online with 12.5 million consumers predicted to visit usps.com for help shipping that special holiday gift. And usps.com is always open.
It’s estimated nearly 500,000 consumers will use the Click-N-Ship feature and other online services on Dec. 14 to order free Priority Mail boxes, print shipping labels, purchase postage and even request free next-day Package Pickup.
The busiest time of the season for the Postal Service begins two weeks before Christmas. It’s expected that customer traffic at all Post Office locations will steadily increase beginning the week of Dec. 6, with the week of Dec. 13-18 anticipated to be the busiest mailing, shipping and delivery week of the season.
More tips for a successful holiday mailing and shipping season:
- Use free Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes. They are available at local Post Office locations or online at usps.com/freeboxes.
- Make it easy with Click-N-Ship. You can create shipping labels and pay for postage online at usps.com/ship.
- Schedule a free Package Pickup when the carrier delivers your mail. It’s free regardless of the number of packages. Or, pickups can be scheduled at usps.com/pickup.*
- Mail and packages that weigh more than 10 ounces and/or are more than a half-inch thick using stamps as postage cannot be dropped into a collection box or left for a carrier to pick up. Instead, take them to a window clerk at a Post Office.
*Boxes are delivered within the U.S. with your regular mail, usually within 7 to 10 business days. Exclusions apply, for details and to order, visit https://store.usps.com/store.