Sending calling cards to Iraq

This subject came up today at lunch, so I did a little research. It seems that the calling cards purchased through the Army Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) are the way to go.

callingcard.jpgI don’t know that EVERY calling card will work from Iraq, but most probably will. The international rates are very high, though, for “regular” cards.

The cards purchased through AAFES, however, are a much better deal and will be sure to work for anyone with access to a phone. It’s a special deal through AT&T. They’ve set up a site for non-approved buyers (us civilians) to order cards through AAFES.

It appears that the rates are quite a bit better than just going out and buying a card in the store. A regular card used in Iraq is “10 units = .05” while an AAFES card is “3 units = .07”. And the rate per minute with these cards is about half of the normal rate. If I’m doing the math right, it seems that a regular 550 Unit card is worth about six minutes of talk time while a 550 Unit AAFES card is worth about an hour. I’m sure your mileage may vary, though.

Here’s an FAQ about the deal:

Here’s an article about it:

You can “recharge” them from home if they start to run low by using an 800 number and a PIN.

Here’s the link to order them:

Pass it on. And to anyone else who’s got loved ones in Southwest Asia.

Guys out in the field, of course, might not have a lot of chances to use any calling card.

If anyone has any experience with these cards or better suggestions be sure to let us know in the comments section.


  1. Murdoc, are you sure of your math? If a regular card gives you 10 units for .05 and an AAFES card gives you 3 units for .07 does it not mean that it cost 21 cents per 9 minutes vs 05 cents for 10? Maybe is backwards?

  2. Ok, the minutes per unit are a better deal with AAfes cards. Here is from the web site: PREPAID PHONE CARDS – Units vs. Minutes While other retailers sell AT&T prepaid cards, only the Military Exchange Global Prepaid cards offer the best value for calls made from an AT&T phone center in deployed areas. AAFES is currently offering a promotional per minute rate when calling from Iraq and Afghanistan (see chart below).
    While other retailer’s cards can often be used for international calling, you must convert the minutes to units. The following matrix outlines the number of units and the price per minute when calling from Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait to the U.S. using the Military Exchange Global Prepaid cards (3 units) as compared to a well known retailer’s prepaid card (10 units).

  3. Rey: Yeah, it’s a combination of a better ‘exchange’ rate from units to dollars for the AAEFS cars plus a per-minute rate that’s roughly half of that for regular cards. To further confuse things, I didn’t use the .50 per minute rate for regular cards given on the AAEFS site. I used .45 instead, as a number of articles used that figure. Here’s the math I used: 10 regular units = .05 550 regular units = $2.75 $2.75 = 6.1 minutes @ .45/min 3 AAEFS units = .07 550 AAEFS units = $12.83 $12.83 = 61.0 minutes @ .21/min I’m sure this isn’t totally accurate, but even if it’s in the ballpark it demonstrates that the AAEFS card is the way to go.