It worked! (For now.) I have a Morgan Stanley Amex Platinum! (For now.)

A little while back, I wrote a post about Morgan Stanley’s new investment product, Access Investing. Unlike a normal Morgan Stanley brokerage account, which requires many thousands of dollars to open and comes with perks like a real, live financial advisor, Access is open to anyone willing to invest $5000. You can even sign up online (in fact, that’s what they want you to do — the whole point of Access investing is that you never interface with a real person). Read my original post for more information on what Access is and how it fits into Morgan Stanley’s ecosystem.

I got to wondering if Access would be considered an “eligible brokerage account” in terms of Amex’s co-branded Morgan Stanley cards, and even after someone from Morgan Stanley told me that it wouldn’t, I wasn’t convinced. After all, this hobby thrives in the vicissitudes between one person’s policy and an automated system’s ability to misread that policy for my benefit.

However, I wasn’t about to put up real money just to try to get a fancy credit card, so I spent a while researching the funds Morgan’s algorithm proposed and gaming out the negative compounding of the management fees I would need to pay before I jumped in. Ultimately, I felt that my investment mix was a little stock-heavy already, and I saw an upside to taking $5000 and moving it onto a platform that would track the market with a more muted daily swing (that’s the goal, at least).

Once I started messing around in the account, I realized that it runs on the same online platform as any other Morgan Stanley account, which only bolstered my hunch that the Access account could conceivably pass for one of their standard accounts. I still had to wait a little while to apply for the Platinum card, given other minimum spending requirements I was working on, but I finally got around to it today… and much to my surprise, I was instantly approved.

morgs

From reading this post by Frequent Miler, I was expecting my application at least to go to pending while Amex verified if I actually did have a Morgan Stanley account. On the application page, you only have to check a box promising that you do actually have an account — you aren’t required to provide an account number or any other details, so clearly there’s a verification step that needs to happen at some point.

Given the instant approval, I’m worried that the secondary audit is going to lead to an account shutdown, which is why I qualified my excitement a little bit in the title of this post. After all, I was told specifically that Access accounts don’t qualify for the full suite of Morgan Stanley services, which includes the credit cards. And how would Amex know if I even had a Morgan Stanley account at all, unless they contact Morgan Stanley and ask them?

In any case, the bottom line is that for now, my Access account is enough to get me a Morgan Stanley Platinum card. I sure hope it sticks, since there doesn’t seem to be any other way (at least that I can find out in the open) to backdoor your way into a Morgan Stanley account with a fairly small amount of money. I’ve been interested in this card for a long time due to the free authorized user, so I’ve done some pretty significant digging trying to figure out how to get one without being mr. moneybags. That’s why I was so excited when I found out about the Access platform, and it’s why I’m cautiously optimistic that I’ve finally uncovered a way to get the card without having to win the lottery first.

Here’s one other wrinkle I’ll put out there, in case you really want to push the limits… You can create your Access account without actually funding it. You’ll get an email every couple days reminding you to fund your account, but it exists (with an account number and everything) even without any money in it. You have 60 days to fund your account before it closes automatically, so if you were really averse to giving any money to Morgan Stanley, you could always try to open an account this way, get the Amex card, hit the spending target within 60 days, pocket the bonus, and wait for them to close the card the next time they do an audit and realize you no longer have a brokerage account. I don’t recommend this, given Amex’s penchant for clawing back bonuses when they feel you’ve obtained them wrongly, but you may have a higher risk tolerance than I do.

Finally, for anyone who’s wondering if I’m worried about getting in trouble with Amex for this… I’m not. The terms on the application page are general enough to apply to any brokerage account, and Access investing is a brokerage account. I don’t think they can claim I was trying to defraud them, so the worst that happens is that they update their terms (which they’re allowed to do) and then cancel my account. After all, it’s not as if I’m faking an account or anything, and I do plan to keep my account open as long as I have the card.

Has anyone else tried this? Are you going to? I’d love to get some other data points to see if my instant approval just happened to be good luck (possibly followed by the bad luck of having my account shut down). I’m also curious if anyone is interested in the other Morgan Stanley card (which Frequent Miler has covered in detail as well). And of course, I’d love to be responsible for breaking useful information for a change, instead of just rambling on semi-coherently!

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31 thoughts on “It worked! (For now.) I have a Morgan Stanley Amex Platinum! (For now.)”

  1. Thank you for taking the approach of “be the data point you want to see”. I also have been eyeing this card for the free AU account but quickly changed my mind when I researched how much I’d need to open an eligible account. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a pretty basic mix of market tracking funds. I selected “retirement” as my goal, and I kept everything pretty vanilla. They let you choose exposure to certain market sectors (like robotics/AI, clean energy, etc), although the associated funds tend to have comparatively high fees involved.

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  2. Great post and research.
    Do we have any data points indicating that Amex closes Platinum cards after they’ve been opened? Like, let’s say someone is a legit Morgan Stanley user and has a Plat MS card, and then 5 years later they switch to a different brokerage. Maybe once the card is open they don’t close it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know of any data points around the Morgan Stanley card, but haven’t people had their Ameriprise cards closed due to not having an account?

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    1. It’s $550 per year. Benefits are the same as the normal platinum card except you can cash out points at $.01 each into your Morgan Stanley account, and the first authorized user is free. It’s this last benefit that was most interesting to me (plus the sign up bonus).

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  3. Seems like just having a pulse got you approved, not having an Access account. Really a meaningless DP until you go though their verification process (assuming that wasn’t you checking a box)

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  4. Great post, thanks very much! I opened the Access Investing account and did not fund it, and then I applied the AmEx Platinum for Morgan Stanley and it was approved after ~5 days pending. I’ll leave 0 balance there and see what happens after 60 days.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Any updates yet? It’s been two weeks. Did you receive your card? No adverse action yet? No phone calls? Everything still appears good?

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  6. I got this link through DOC and I followed your instructions to apply for the access account and I was successful without funding it. I applied around the time this was published. Then around May 5, I applied for the MS Platinum and approved instantly. I am going to hit the 5K in spend early next month, partially by paying for my taxes and before I go to Greece. I will update on this link as soon as I hit the 5K and get the 60K MRs. I leave on June 9, so I will hit the mark around June 1 or so. This is my 11 Amex in the last 10 month. I strongly feel this will stick and I don’t think they will close my MS Plat after my access account is closed after 60 days from opening. If it comes to fruition that my MS does get closed after my access gets closed, then I would recommend to apply in December to get the $200 airline credit in December and in January. You are the man Windbag!!! This is a monster break through, to say the least!!! This maybe the biggest hack in all time!!! I can go on forever in complementing you!!

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  7. Signed up for brokerage account and immediately applied for the card. Status went to pending which leads me to believe since you guys let it marinate for a bit they do verify on the back end at the time of application submission. 50/50 I get approved but if not I’ll apply again I a couple weeks when it percolates through the system.

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    1. Amex still showing pending on their website. No credit report was ran yet. I bet they are confirming I have a MS account before doing a credit pull. You guys should be in good shape.

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      1. Getting close! Just paid a $2100 royalty to someone (related to my hobby business), so that took care of a big chunk of it. It’s been over a month so far…

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    1. google ‘Morgan Stanley Access Account’ and select ‘start today’ button on their main webpage or you can use this link:
      https://login.morganstanleyclientserv.com/access

      On the next page, select the bottom button ‘continue as guest’ and then, you will go through a series of questions that may take 10 minutes as mentioned above by Windbag.

      After your account is setup, wait about a 5-7 days or so (may take less, but you will have 2 months to hit the $5K spend). I would recommend to start slowly on spending like utilities, every day spending and then larger bills like your taxes (I am employed, so I signed up for a low rate of tax deduction from my paystub), car insurance, home owners insurance, kids education, etc (you get my drift). Just with taxes alone, you can hit the $5K spend in one day.

      Good Luck!!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. once you have your access account established, login to your account and select the ‘Home’ tab, top-left of screen. Then there will be an advertisement to the bottom right of the webpage, below ‘Contact your Advisor’. Select the left arrow ” until you see the Amex advertised (it maybe for either of the two Amex cards). Then you are connected to the MS Amex App page!

      btw – As Windbag mentions, your access account closes after 60 days of inactivity and as the app states, your MS Amex will also close, but it is unknown if this will actually happen. I will find out in the next couple of months and I will keep this link posted.

      Good Luck!

      Like

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