Published on March 19th, 2015 | by William Charles17
Morgan Stanley Cards From American Express: Basic & Platinum
After the announcement that American Express would be partnering with Charles Schwab, I thought it would be interesting to have a look at the Morgan Stanley cards that American Express also issue. There are two different cards that in this partnership:
- The Morgan Stanley Credit Card from American Express
- The Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Morgan Stanley
Morgan Stanley Credit Card from American Express
This is the more basic of the two cards, let’s take a look at the main talking points:
- Sign up bonus of 10,000 Membership Rewards points after $1,000 in spend within the first three months of card membership
- Earns at the following rates:
- 2x on airfare purchased directly from airlines
- 2x on purchases at US restaurants
- 2x on purchases at select US department stores
- 2x points on car rentals purchased directly from select car rental companies
- 1x points on all other purchases
Annual fee of $95 is waived for the first yearNo longer any annual fee with this card
- Receive an Anniversary Spend Award of $100 from Morgan Stanley after you spend $25,000 in purchases each year by your anniversary date
The spend bonus really just covers the annual fee and then some. The sign up bonus is rather small, but the bonus categories could be useful for some.
Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Morgan Stanley
- Sign up bonus of 50,000 Membership Rewards points after $1,000 in spend within the first three months of card membership
- Receive an Anniversary Spend Award of $500 from Morgan Stanley after you spend $100,000 in purchases each year by your anniversary date
- Card earns 1x points on all purchase
- Annual fee of $450 is not waived (although it is possible to get a credit on this card)
- Receive lounge access to The Centurion Lounges and Delta Sky Clubs (and free enrollment to Priority Pass select)
- Receive an airline credit of $200 per calendar year for incidental fees such as checked bags, in flight refreshments, flight change fees and more
- All other standard American Express Platinum benefits (SPG Gold, Global Entry Credit etc)
This is basically just a re-branded version of the American Express Platinum card. There are actually quite a few of these and even though it’s only possible to get the sign up bonus on each American Express personal card once, it is possible to get the bonus once on each of these cards.
There are two upsides to this account though:
- The sign up bonus is 50,000 points after $1,000 in spend (the standard sign up bonus is only 40,000 points after $3,000 in spend)
- There is a spending bonus of $500
Now I wouldn’t recommend actually hitting the spend bonus as you’d earn 100,000 MR points + $500, compared to 150,000 MR points if you used the AmEx Everyday Preferred card. But it’s still a nice benefit for those that want to put all of their spend on the Platinum card (surprisingly, a lot of people do actually do this even though it has the flat earn rate of 1x MR).
The nice thing about both of these cards is that you can add additional cardholders for no charge (Update: It looks like you can only add one additional cardholder to the platinum card for free, additional cardholders after that cost $175, thanks to stvr). This is particularly useful for those with the Platinum card as the additional user will get lounge access, priority pass select, SPG gold status and the Global Entry credit (I’m sure I’m missing some of the other benefits).
Although the $200 airline credit is per account, not per cardholder so you’d only be able to get that benefit once per calendar year.
Another interesting thing about these cards is that neither have any language about only getting the bonus once per lifetime, so it might be possible to get the sign up bonus multiple times on both cards.
Converting Points To Brokerage Account
Another feature of these cards is that you can convert your points into cash when you deposit them into your brokerage account. The rate is 1 point = 1 cent, personally I think you’ll get a lot more value from transferring these points to travel partners but this is much higher than the standard rate of 1 point = 0.6 cents that American Express offer.
When you go to apply for these accounts, you’ll see a check box that you must tick before you can apply that confirms you have an eligible Morgan Stanley brokerage account:
Unfortunately American Express do actually check with Morgan Stanley to ensure you meet these requirements before approving you.
The majority of people won’t be eligible for these cards, but I thought they were worth a look anyway. For those that are eligible they might be good options, especially if you’ve already received the personal platinum bonus before. It’ll be interesting to see if the new Charles Schwab credit cards are similar in nature or not.