Using phone cards from international hotels

May 28th, 2012

“Can I use my global phone card from an international hotel?”

I was helping a customer recently with a phone card purchase where they would be calling from Central America back to the USA.  They wanted a phone card that could be used from a hotel back to the USA.  They asked me the above question and I very enthusiastically responded…maybe.

I’ve talked about using phone cards from international locations many times in the past, but this particular question and answer should be repeated.  For one reason  or another, some international hotels will block phone cards from being used from their phones.  In these cases, there is nothing we can do to make the phone card work from their phones.  It is their policy and we have no influence on getting them to change it.  The best thing to do is contact the hotel and ask them if they block phone cards from being used from their phones before you buy a phone card and before you arrive at their hotel looking to make a phone call.

There is another very important question you should ask the hotel before using any phone card from your room: do they charge a room fee for even picking up the phone?

Now this one may seem kind of silly, I mean, would a hotel really charge you just for the act of picking up your room phone to make a call?  The answer, oddly enough, is yes.

This is another thing that we have absolutely no control over but it has happened to customers.  Upon checkout, we’ve had a small handful of customers who have had a phone usage fee added to their bills.  Now this is not the cost of the actual call itself but a fee for just using their phone.  The actual international phone charges have been used through the phone card, but the hotel may have a policy that allows them to charge your room bill for just picking up the phone.  Make sure you ask your hotel about their phone usage policy before using their phones.

I walked the customer through all these tips and more regarding international dialing and she went to work calling the hotel.  We found a great phone card for her to use while in Central America and she made her purchase.  She did tell me, however, that the hotel would charge her $3.00 per call for using their phone to place the call.  Without the phone card, she’d be charged this $3.00 plus the amount for the international call.  WOW!

The customer was very pleased that I informed her up front about this tip, as it is not a well known practice.  Honestly, room charges for phone usage are not typical among international hotels, but we have seen it happen.  The last thing we want our customers to experience is a huge bill at checkout.  While we have no control over the hotels and their policies, we don’t want anyone to have this extra added stress from their vacation.

Do a rate search today to check out the best phone card rates for your international trip and don’t forget to read through Travel Card FAQ’s for more tips on what to know before you buy an international phone card.

The best phone cards I can recommend for sticking with a calling budget are either flat-rate cards or phone cards with no weekly/monthly service fees. I say this because there may be periods of time because of your budget that you may not be using your phone card. During that time, you don’t want service fees to come off the balance of your phone card. The rate per minute may be higher than some of our other cards, but the benefit long term will be better.

To budget your time, first decide on how much you’d like to spend per week or month on calls.

After you’ve figured out this amount, do a rate search for your calling origination and destination. This will give you a list of phone cards available for your calling need.

To view the flat-rate cards only, click on the link under the rate search that says Click for advanced options. Choose the filter that shows flat-rate cards only and press Search Rates.

Review the cards available that you feel would best suit your calling needs.

Two phone cards that will not come up when you use this filter are the International Student’s Choice and Au Pair’s Choice. Both of these cards have a 10% surcharge per call but no other service fees. Take a look at these two cards as well when you’re evaluating your card choices. To see how their rates stack up to the flat-rate phone cards, add the 10% surcharge to the rate per minute. Here’s an example.

Let’s say that you’re looking at a card that’s 10 cents per minute with a 10% surcharge per call. When you add that into the rate per minute, it makes the rate 11¢ per minute.

For more information about finding the right phone card for your calling needs, check out our First Time Buyer’s Guide.

Phone Card Coupon for Week of May 29, 2012

Through June 10th, receive 5% off of your purchase of a new phone card PIN or phone card recharge from ZapTel on the following products: Absolute Global, Absolute World, Global Caller, Global Line, Study Abroad Student’s Choice, True North . Use the following code to receive the discount:


Enter the coupon code on the Review Your Order page, and be sure to click the “Add Coupon Code” button on the page to apply the discount. Offer expires at Midnight Central Time on June 10, 2012.

Tags: , , ,

This entry was posted on Monday, May 28th, 2012 at 8:31 pm and is filed under Phone Card Tips. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.

  • « Older Entries
  • Newer Entries »