On January 21, 2018 the new USPS rates go into effect. Most Shipping Services products will average a 3.9% price increase across the board, including the USPS Priority Mail International rate increase. In this article, we’ll do a deep dive into what exactly Priority Mail International is, who should use it, and what kind of increases we’ll be seeing in 2018.
What is Priority Mail International?
Priority Mail International (PMI) offers a faster delivery time than First-Class Mail International, typically arriving between 6 and 10 days. It is not, however, the fastest method. That would be Priority Mail Express International.
While First Class International is the cheapest method to ship internationally, your package must be less than 4 lbs. and the delivery time depends completely on the destination. With Priority Mail International, you can ship packages up to 70 lbs. with more reliability. Tracking information is available, and delivery confirmation is included in the cost of PMI. The shipping cost is determined by how far the package is traveling, though Flat Rate options are available when using Flat Rate boxes.
Priority Mail Express International comes with a money-back guaranteed delivery window, allowing you to apply for a refund if your package is late. This option does not come with Priority Mail International.
Priority Mail International Features:
- Send packages that weigh up to 70 lbs.
- Use custom packaging or boxes available from the USPS
- Shipping cost will be determined by the distance the shipment is traveling
- Tracking is available through the Track & Confirm tool on usps.com
- Delivery confirmation included
Who should use Priority Mail International and when?
If you need a more reliable delivery window with tracking than First Class International can offer, but don’t need an absolute guarantee, Priority Mail International will be your best bet. If your packages typically weigh more than 4 lbs., you won’t be able to use First Class International shipping, so you will have to use PMI as your default. This shipping method serves as an intersection of cost and speed of delivery.
The number of options for international shipping are far too many to show everything here, but there isn’t a single weight/zone combination that was less than a 2% increase, so you should certainly expect your costs to go up in 2018 for packages leaving the U.S.
That being said, Priority Mail International still offers the best combination of time and cost-savings compared to other methods and carriers.
For those of you who also ship domestically, please be sure to check out our other deep dives into Priority Mail and First Class package services. We break down who should use these methods, and discuss the rate increases for those services as well.
For a full breakdown of 2018 shipping rate changes for all three major carriers (USPS, FedEx, and UPS), download our free guide: the E-commerce Seller’s Guide to 2018 Shipping Rate Changes.