It’s easy to get jaded with credit card sign-up bonuses. 100,000 miles? Yes please. 50,000 miles? That works for me. 30,000 miles? Meh, okay, I guess. 25,000 miles? I’ll have to think that one over. So I think some perspective is nice every once in a while.

Last June I wrote about the special introductory offer on the JAL USA CARD Mastercard Credit Card. They were offering a LIMITED EDITION “SIROTAN” (what is it with their capitalizing?) as a sign-up bonus… but only if you were one of the first 100 applicants. After all, we wouldn’t want them to get carried away, I can only imagine the production costs on those plush toys!


I mean, who needs miles or points as a sign-up bonus when you can instead get JAL’s “CUTE” Airplane Mascot “Sirotan?”

Anyway, I wouldn’t be doing my duty as a blogger if I didn’t mention that the Spring Enrollment Campaign on the JAL USA CARD Mastercard Credit Card ends today, Monday, April 7, 2014.


So what does this “Spring Enrollment Campaign” consist of, you ask? Well, they’re very innovative, in that they give you options for which bonus you’d like. You can choose between 4,000 bonus miles OR a fee waiver on the first year’s annual fee and rewards program fee. That’s right, not only is there an annual fee on the card, but there’s also a rewards program fee on the card. That means you basically have the choice between 4,000 miles or $70 worth of (BS) fee waivers.


On the plus side, there’s no minimum spend on the card to receive the bonuses. šŸ˜‰

I guess I’ll be waiting for their summer campaign to sign-up. Maybe they’ll feel super generous and offer a 4,000 mile sign-up bonus and the first year’s annual fee waived? Hell, at this point I’ll settle for another “Sirotan” sign-up bonus.

(Tip of the hat to Running with Miles)


  1. Hi, World Cup is coming. I guess you can write some tips on traveling to Brazil. It is a beautiful country yet there are lots of things you need pay attention to. Here are some of my experience.

    1. Making sure your expensive belongs are insured. Especially your camera. Being stolen on the beach of Rio De Janeiro almost happen s everyday! There is a long line in Rio tourist police department and I was told do not ever expected you can get it back. All they can do is just to insure a certificate that can be used to claim insurance. If you are going to buy camera now, making sure you use a card with purchase protection!
    Overall, Brazil is safe but not in big cities like SĆ£o Paulo or Rio.

    2. Only used card with a EMV chip. Card clone happened so often that even eating at a legit restaurant can be where it happened. However, if you are using a EMV card, it is very safe. Just making sure they are not swiping but inserting your card. Watch them insert the card to the POS machine, never ever let them swipe the card!

    3. If you want to withdraw money, I would suggested use Schwab debit card. Not only because they refund all ATM fees, but because their have separated two accounts set up. Scam ATMs are everywhere in Brazil even in the airport! So put your money in saving account and only move them to checking account when you need to withdraw money. Most of debit cards company covered a certain amount of incident loss. So don’t put too much money on your checking account as criminals can always get money from checking account.( assume you also have overdraft). Once backed to US, immediately used it to make a record just in case your card is duplicated. Also please making sure that you request a new debit card once you backed to US

    Overall. Brazil is a beautiful country.but just there also lots of traps. In summary:

    1. Bring only chip credit cards with no foreign transaction fee
    2. Don’t put too much money in your account linked with debit card
    3. Making sure your expensive camera is insured (purchase protection can be really helpful in this case)

  2. @Hh Huh?

    @Lucky Funny post. Just shows how fortunate we are to have a pretty competitive credit card market in the US.

  3. @Daniel @Daniel
    I think it is a good time for Lucky to write an article talking about travel safety and recommend some credit cards.
    I didn’t realize the importance of purchase protection, chip technology and delay insurance until I unfortunately encountered all kinds of mishaps in Brazil.
    Credit card markets in US are indeed competitive, yet not competitive enough to put chip technology on all credit cards. (Europe and South American countries are actually ahead of US in this point, almost all POS machine I saw in Brazil can read chip card while I haven’t seen any in US)

  4. These credit card offers always make me smile! šŸ™‚

    But what’s up with the fees for reward/mileage programs? For example, CX’s Marco Polo has a membership fee… what the heck šŸ™

  5. Welcome to the reality that is credit cards in Japan. Super-low interest rates and relatively few people carrying a balance mean credit card issuers have to make their money somewhere else (i.e. fees) and have little marketing power (i.e. miles).

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