Reader Katie writes:
I have an persistent problem with my keycards for hotel rooms deactivating. The hotel chain does not matter -Starwood, Hyatt, Hilton-all the cards deactivate. My husband claims it because I store them in my wallet which I then put in my purse which also holds my blackberry. I say that although his theory for deactivation is possible, it is ridiculous that this happens. Where else would I supposed to store my room key except my wallet? So, my question(s) to you: do other people have this problem? Is the problem largely limited to women (or men) who carry purses which contain both their wallet and cellphone/blackberry? Can hotels fix this issue? And most importantly, is there anything I can do to prevent this-aluminum foil around the card or some other crazy hack?
This never would have happened with those hole-punched VingCards! (Ahh, memories!)
Your husband may be right, but it’s still not clear what the precise cause is, or why it happens so consistently.
Since the key card is really a magnetic strip attached to a piece of plastic, it can be affected by other things that have magnetic force. What kind of magnets are you carrying?!
I thought a cellphone would be a good bet, especially if it’s a flip phone, since those are often held shut with magnets. (I recall that my Motorola came with a warning to keep credit cards away from the phone for just that reason.) But if it’s a Blackberry or other non-flip-phone, then that’s not it.
Other cards, such as credit cards, are magnetic, too, but rarely exert enough of a charge to disable key cards, unless you are directly rubbing magnetic stripes together. Especially so consistently! (I always carry my keycards in my wallet, right next to the credit cards. Never had a problem.)
So to be honest, I’m stumped. As a solution, though, I’d consider a small static sleeve. My bank gave me a mylar sleeve for my ATM card years ago, and hotels often give the keycards in a paper pouch. Maybe that might help.
I’ll throw it open to readers: Do others have similar trouble? Any theories? Suggestions for how to prevent deactivation? Hit the comments!