The Platinum Card from American Express Exclusively for Morgan Stanley Review [2021]: Are You Eligible?

The Platinum Card from American Express Exclusively for Morgan Stanley offers the same perks as the standard version but also includes some valuable additions.
Last updated Jun 4, 2021 | By Kevin Payne | Edited By Becca Borawski Jenkins

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Frequent travelers are probably familiar with the American Express Platinum Card, but you may not know there is another version of the card specifically for individuals who invest through Morgan Stanley. The Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Morgan Stanley offers most of the benefits of the standard Platinum Card, but with a few key differences.

The question that needs to be asked is whether it makes sense to apply for this travel rewards credit card simply because it can be linked to your brokerage account. For those who aren’t currently Morgan Stanley customers, is it worth opening an investment account just to apply for this specific card?

You can use this Morgan Stanley American Express Platinum Card review as a guide to determine if this card is right for you.

Invest Your Travel Rewards

The Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Morgan Stanley

The Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Morgan Stanley

The Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Morgan Stanley

Benefits

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first three months
  • Up to 5X points on eligible purchases
  • Redeem rewards as a deposit into your Morgan Stanley account
  • Luxury travel perks
  • $550 annual fee. Terms apply.

Drawbacks

  • Must pay balances in full since it is a charge card
  • Has annual fee

In this article

Who should get the Amex Platinum Card Exclusively for Morgan Stanley?

The Amex Platinum Card Exclusively for Morgan Stanley is great for frequent travelers who spend money on flights and hotels year-round. More specifically, the card offers a host of benefits that fans of luxury travel can appreciate. The benefits cardholders can enjoy include an airline credit, a Global Entry or TSA Precheck fee credit, airport lounge access, and hotel status upgrades. Select benefits require enrollment.

With a $550 (See rates and fees) annual fee attached, you should only apply for this card if you plan to take advantage of most of the included benefits and perks each year. But there is a workaround that essentially cancels out the fee each year.

Customers with a Stanley Morgan Platinum CashPlus account and the Amex Platinum Card Exclusively for Morgan Stanley can earn an annual $550 engagement bonus. That essentially makes this card free to have in your wallet.

The bulk of the card’s earning power is tied to travel, so if that’s not you, you’re probably better off with one of the best cashback cards instead. Also, keep in mind that this card is exclusively for Morgan Stanley customers. If you don’t have a Morgan Stanley brokerage account, you’ll need to open one to be eligible for this card or opt for another travel rewards credit card instead.

Card basics

Card type Travel
Credit card issuer American Express
Annual fee $550. Terms apply.
Welcome bonus Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first three months
Reward rate 5X points per dollar spent on eligible airfare (on up to $500,000 per calendar year, after that 1X) and hotel purchases, and 1X points per dollar on all other eligible purchases
Recommended credit score Excellent, Good
Foreign transaction fee None (See rates and fees)

The Platinum Card from American Express Exclusively for Morgan Stanley benefits and perks

  • Generous welcome offer: You’ll earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months of card opening.
  • Invest your rewards: As a rewards card specifically for Morgan Stanley account holders, your rewards can be redeemed as deposits into qualifying Morgan Stanley brokerage accounts. Points are worth $0.01 when redeemed this way.
  • Lounge access: Enjoy access to airport lounges around the world thanks to your Platinum Card, including Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass Select, Delta Sky Club, Airspace, and American Express International Lounges. 
  • Global Entry or TSA Precheck fee credit: The card comes with a reimbursement credit for the application fee for either Global Entry (once every four years) or TSA Precheck (once every 4.5 years). 
  • Saks Fifth Avenue: With the Platinum Card, you’re eligible for up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for qualifying purchases made in stores or online at Saks Fifth Avenue. This comes in the form of $50 for the first half of the year and another $50 for the second half of the year.
  • Uber benefits: Cardmembers also gain access to Uber VIP status and up to $200 in annual Uber credits that can be used for savings on rides or Uber Eats.
  • Hotel status upgrades: With the Platinum Card comes automatic Hilton Honors Gold status and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status. You’ll get to enjoy all of the extra perks offered through elevated status in both hotel loyalty programs.
  • Airline incidental fee credit: Frequent flyers will love using the card’s $200 airline fee credit each year. The credit is good toward incidental fees charged by qualifying airlines, including American Airlines, Delta, Southwest, United, and much more.
  • Enrollment is required for select benefits.

Drawbacks to this card

  • Morgan Stanley requirement: One of the primary requirements of this card is having a qualifying brokerage account open through Morgan Stanley. If you don’t have one or invest through another brokerage firm, you won’t be able to get this card. That said, there is also the Amex Platinum Card for Schwab if you do have a Charles Schwab account.
  • Annual fee: The card offers tons of value, especially for travelers, but the $550 annual fee is high enough to give pause before signing up. That said, all you have to do to nullify that fee is sign up for a Stanley Morgan Platinum CashPlus account. You may or may not pay a fee for the CashPlus account, depending on if you meet certain direct deposit and balance requirements.
  • Authorized user fees: Adding one authorized user is free, but additional cards (up to three) will cost you a total of $175 annually.

Earning & redeeming Amex Membership Rewards

Potential earnings in year one

Here's a look how your Membership Rewards points can add up with the Amex Platinum Card Exclusively for Morgan Stanley. To calculate these values, we used a point valuation of 1 cent per MR point.

Remember, this is an estimation. The actual value will be determined by how much you spend and in which categories you spend.

Year one earnings: $585

These values are based on the FinanceBuzz Credit Card Rewards Valuation Model which takes a look at points earned via spending, the welcome bonus, and the annual fee. If you take advantage of the $550 engagement bonus offered by opening up a Stanley Morgan Platinum CashPlus account, then your earnings will be much higher.

Best ways to earn

Spending on your Morgan Stanley Platinum Card earns Amex Membership Rewards Points. Frequent travelers love the Membership Rewards program because of its versatility with redemptions, and the Platinum Card makes earning points relatively easy.

Qualifying for the welcome offer is the key to earning points quickly with this Amex card. You’ll have plenty of chances to earn more points after that. The Amex Platinum Card especially rewards travel purchases, but you’ll still earn points on other purchases.

Categories Rewards rate
Flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 per calendar year, after that 1X) and eligible hotels booked with American Express Travel 5X
All other eligible purchases 1X

Unfortunately, the Morgan Stanley version of this card doesn’t earn the 10X bonus points at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S (on up to $25,000 in combined purchases during the first 6 months, after that 1X) like the standard card.

Amex Membership Rewards Points never expire and aren’t capped. All of your spending is rewarded and can be redeemed for travel and much more.

Maximizing your redemptions

Your best value with the Amex Platinum Card is using your points to book travel. Points are worth $0.01 when booking flights through Amex Travel. You aren’t limited to booking travel directly through American Express, either. You can also transfer your points to participating American Express travel partner’s loyalty programs. In some cases, your points might hold more value through one of Amex’s travel partners.

You can enjoy more comfortable travel by using your Membership Rewards points toward seat upgrades on airfare through over 20 participating airlines. Amex allows you to use points to pay for all or part of the upgrade amount.

Redemptions aren’t limited to only travel, although that usually offers the most value. You can also redeem Membership Rewards points for:

  • Online shopping
  • Statement credits
  • Gift cards
  • Merchandise
  • Charity donations

As a rewards card specifically for Morgan Stanley account holders, points can also be redeemed as deposits into qualifying Morgan Stanley brokerage accounts, starting at a 1,000-point minimum. Points are worth $0.01 when redeemed as brokerage deposits. Note that there may be tax implications for this type of reward redemption, so consult a tax professional before choosing this option.

Few loyalty rewards programs offer the flexibility of Membership Rewards, and the Platinum Card gives you a chance to earn plenty of points through the program.

American Express transfer partners

One of the best features of the Membership Rewards program is the ability to transfer Membership Rewards points to Amex travel partners. There are currently 18 travel transfer partners that participate in the program:

Airline Partners

  • Alitalia MilleMiglia (1:1 transfer)
  • Asia Miles (1:1 transfer)
  • British Airways Executive Club (1:1 transfer)
  • Delta SkyMiles (1000:1000 transfer)
  • Emirates Skywards (1:1 transfer)
  • Etihad Guest (1:1 transfer)
  • Finnair Plus (1:1 transfer)
  • Flying Blue (1:1 transfer)
  • Iberia Plus (1:1 transfer)
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer (1:1 transfer)
  • SAS EuroBonus (1:1 transfer)
  • Singapore KrisFlyer (3:2 transfer)
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club (1:1 transfer)

Hotel Partners

  • Hilton Honors (1:2 transfer)
  • Marriott Bonvoy (2:3 transfer)
  • RadissonRewards (1:3 transfer)

Other Partners

  • Club Eurostar (1,500:100 transfer)
  • Nectar (1:1 transfer)

Transfers can take several days, so it’s a good idea to make transfers a few days before you plan to redeem the points. Each travel transfer partner has minimum transfer requirements, so always check before you formulate a plan for using your points.

Amex Platinum Card Exclusively for Morgan Stanley FAQs

How do you get a Morgan Stanley Amex Platinum card?

To be approved for a Morgan Stanley Amex Platinum Card, you must be a Morgan Stanley customer with a qualifying brokerage account in addition to meeting the creditworthiness standards for the Platinum Card.

How much money do you need to open a Morgan Stanley account?

A minimum of $5,000 is required to open a Morgan Stanley investing account. This is for the Morgan Stanley Access Investing account.

What credit score do you need for the Amex Platinum?

Credit card issuers typically do not publish specific credit score requirements online, but you’ll likely need a good to excellent FICO credit score to qualify for the Amex Platinum Card, which is a score of at least 670.


Other cards to consider

As noted, the Morgan Stanley card requires a Morgan Stanley brokerage account. If you love the card benefits, but don’t love the thought of being tied to another financial account, there are other credit card offers you might consider.

The Platinum Card® from American Express comes with almost identical perks and features, but has a bigger welcome offer and extra spending categories (for the first six months). There’s no obligation to open any other accounts either. Few cards compare to the luxury perks of the American Express Platinum Card, which is why it's one of the most popular travel rewards credit cards available today.

Another top credit card that offers a taste of luxury travel perks is Chase Sapphire Reserve. It also carries a $550 annual fee, but it's packed with value thanks to its massive welcome offer and bonus spending categories. The card is a frequent traveler’s dream with perks like a $300 annual travel credit, lounge access, a Global Entry or TSA Precheck fee credit, and partner benefits through Lyft, DoorDash, and Peloton. You’ll also have access to the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, one of the few loyalty programs that rival the versatility of Membership Rewards.

Invest Your Travel Rewards

The Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Morgan Stanley

The Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Morgan Stanley

The Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Morgan Stanley

Special Offer

Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 in the first three months

See how these cards compare:

The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months
  • 10X points at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S. (up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months)
  • 5X points on eligible flights and hotels
  • $200 hotel credit, $240 digital entertainment credit, $200 in Uber Cash, $300 Equinox credit, $200 airline fee credit
  • Access to Centurion and Priority Pass airport lounges
  • Select benefits require enrollment.
  • $695 annual fee. Terms apply.
  • See rates and fees
Chase Sapphire Reserve
Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • 60,000 point sign-up bonus
  • 3X points on travel and at restaurants
  • $60 annual DoorDash credit in 2021
  • Priority Pass airport lounge access

Author Details

Kevin Payne Kevin Payne is a freelance writer specializing in student loans, credit cards, personal finance, and travel. He is a regular contributor to Club Thrifty, Millennial Money, and Student Loan Planner. As the budget and family travel expert behind FamilyMoneyAdventure.com, Kevin recently turned his writing side hustle into his full-time career. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with his wife and four kids.