Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Phone Cards

In preparation for this week's trip to Canada, Christina got me a Sam's Club phone card. While they offer a $0.035/minute rate within the US, between Canada and the US, the rate jumps to $0.14. According to the instructions. Now, this isn't great, but it's a far sight better than the $1/minute and up you can pay if you're not careful. So I packed the phone card and tried to call Christina when I got in. Following the instructions (Call 1-800-CALL-ATT, then call the Sam's Club AT&T number, then enter my card number, then dial the number I wanted) didn't work -- I got a busy signal when I tried to dial the Sam's Club number. Dialing that (toll-free) number directly, however, worked like a charm. Moreover, I got the $0.035/minute rate, just as if I were in the US. So that's all-in-all a good deal.

I had ordered AT&T International One Rate service on my home phone as a back-up so Christina could reach me. Unfortunately, I had ordered it last Friday, and it looks like the service won't be on there until after I got back. This, combined with the low rate I was getting on the phone card, made me start to wonder why I was paying AT&T a $7/month fee to get $0.05/minute long distance. So I dropped that back to $0.10/minute during the day and $0.05/minute at night for no monthly fee (but a $5/month minimum). I figure for any excessive long distance usage, I'll use the phone card (or my cell phone).

Anyway, the lesson of this is that these Sam's Club cards are a really good deal. Check with the hotel to make sure that you aren't incurring excessively charges if you use them from your room (and if you are, use a payphone).

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