Advertiser Disclosure


Cory Santos

| Last updated on October 4th, 2023


BestCards refers to a variation of FICO Score 9, which is one of many different types of credit scores. A financial institution may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for a credit card. Please note that the range shown here is our own estimation and not a guarantee of credit needed to be approved for any given card. Recommended Credit: Good
Mastercard Processing Network
$0 for the first year, $20 Annual Fee


  • 23.24% variable based on the Prime Rate Regular Purchase APR
  • 23.24% variable based on the Prime Rate Balance Transfer APR
  • 30.49% variable based on the Prime Rate Cash Advance APR

At a Glance

The JAL USA Card is an airline rewards card targeted to frequent Japan Airlines travelers, as well as those relocating to the United States and looking for a card that offers rewards back home. The card provides 5,000 JMB bonus miles after first international Japan Airline travel, and 1 mile for every dollar spent after that. Premium members (an additional $50 per year cost) earn double the miles.

  • Best Benefits
  • Rates & Fees
  • Why Should You Apply?
  • Enjoy MasterCard travel assurances like extended warranty, insurance coverage, and 24-hour emergency services
  • Up to $100 Amazon Gift Card after approval
  • 10% sector bonus miles for every flight
  • Choose your own rewards earning potential
  • Regular Purchase APR: 23.24% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer APR: 23.24% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Cash Advance APR: 30.49% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $15 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Annual Fee: $0 for the first year, $20
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of the transaction amount in U.S. dollars
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $35
  • You are a Japanese citizen who has relocated to the U.S. and want to build credit
  • You want access to JMB rewards and benefits in the U.S.
  • You want to earn 5,000 bonus miles after your first international flight as a cardholder

JAL USA Card Review

The JAL USA Card is the official co-branded credit card of Japan Airlines. Where typical airline credit cards for the U.S. market try to target a broad range of travelers, the JAL Card is specifically targeted towards those who regularly fly with Japan Airlines (JAL) who live in the United States. Featuring a decent signup bonus and no annual fee for the first year, the card is issued through First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO®).

Who Is This Card Designed For?

The JAP USA Card serves a niche – namely, those who frequently fly to Japan. While this is a very small subsection of the travel market, it is actually even smaller than that – realistically, the card can only be targeted at U.S. residents with a credit history.

Fortunately, FNBO and JAL have extended the reach slightly, adding acceptance for foreign nationals without a U.S. credit history. FNBO verifies other key metrics when applying for the card, including:

  • Time with current employer
  • Income in the home country
  • S. income

Please note, that you may be asked to submit additional documents should First Bankcard need more information to process your application.

International Airline Credit Card Comparison

Here’s how the JAL USA Mastercard compares with other airline cards aimed at the Japanese market:


Annual fee $0 for the first year, $20 after that $70
Rewards 1X (Basic), 2X (Premium) 1X
Welcome offer Up to 15,000 miles 5,000 miles
Perks 10% sector bonus miles for every flight JAL 25% flight bonus miles on every ANA flight
Alliance Oneworld Star Alliance
Network Mastercard Visa

Related Article: Who Can Apply for a U.S. Credit Card?

Introductory Bonus

New accounts with the JAL USA Card earn up to 15,000 Bonus Miles after meeting spending requirements in the three months:

  • Earn 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three billing cycles from account opening.
  • Earn 15,000 bonus miles after you spend $7,000 on purchases in the first three billing cycles from account opening.

This welcome bonus has a value of around $200 when booking with JAL, including class upgrades, lounge access, incidentals, and more. Even better, new accounts earn an additional 5,000 Bonus Miles after making their first JAL international flight after becoming a card member. This brings that welcome bonus up to 20,000 – not bad if you were already planning a Tokyo getaway.

How to Earn Rewards

The JAL Card offers differing rewards based on your rewards tier status. Basic rewards members earn 1X miles for every dollar spent, with no limit on the number of miles accumulated. Premium rewards members – a $50 annual charge – earn double miles or 2X miles for every dollar spent.

Miles earned with the card apply to the JAL Mileage Bank program. Mileage is valid through the last day of the 36th month following the month of the transaction in which they are earned. In layperson’s terms, your miles expire three years after you earn them.

To redeem your JAL Mileage Bank miles, you can use them for award flight tickets and enjoy various special offers. The miles earned only apply to the JMB mileage club, meaning this card might not be for you unless you are a frequent flyer with Japan Airlines. If you are, however, the JAL USA Card makes it easier to achieve higher JMB member status – allowing for seat upgrades, priority check-in, and additional baggage allowances on international flights.

Other Card Features

Cardholders also receive 10% off on JAL in-flight purchases when they use their card and 5% off when shopping at JAL partner airport shops. In addition to the benefits of JMB frequent flyers, the JAL USA Card offers the typical benefits Mastercard cardholders can expect. These include:

Zero Liability Protection Mastercard Global Services ID Theft Protection

FNBO Ratings

How does First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO or First Bankcard) stack up as a lender and credit card issuer? Here is a selection of ratings for the bank:

Should You Apply for the JAL USA Card?

Overall, the JAL USA Card is an adequate airline rewards card for those who frequent Japan Airlines or those who are moving to the United States and are looking to build their U.S. credit score. For everyone else, however, the $20 annual fee (which rises to $70 with the addition of premium rewards earning) and the lackluster rewards and miles earning potential of the card mean that there are better options available elsewhere with other Oneworld airlines.

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