For background on my story with the Morgan Stanley Amex Platinum card, see these previous posts:
- Part one, in which an idea strikes me and I write about it
- Part two, in which I successfully put my idea to the test
When I got approved for the card, I was trying to temper my excitement, since I figured there was a good chance Amex would cancel my account after a review found that my Morgan Stanley Access account wasn’t actually an eligible brokerage account. Fortunately that didn’t happen, and I got my 60,000-point bonus a little while later after hitting the minimum spend. The card remains open, and barring any surprises, it will become my long-term Platinum card thanks to the free authorized user benefit.
Now that some time has passed, I wanted to add one more post summing up my thoughts about the whole thing. First, I’m happy that people found my strategy useful, and it’s great to hear that some folks found their way into some extra Membership Rewards points. Second, at least a couple people took me up on the “extreme” version of what I did, which is to open an Access account with Morgan Stanley and never fund it. Thanks to commenters JB from San Diego and Too Nashty, we learned that Morgan Stanley will eventually close an Access account that never gets funded, but it will take around 80 days, which leaves plenty of time to meet the minimum spend requirement and get the bonus.
(A word of caution to anyone who does this: of course, I can’t guarantee that Amex won’t at some point realize that you no longer have a Morgan Stanley account and take punitive action. And given how things have been going lately, who knows what their reward abuse prevention squad will do if/when they find out. I would hate to hear about people getting their bonuses clawed back, and although that’s probably a very small risk, it’s worth being aware of.)
Despite feeling fairly satisfied with myself for my great discovery, something that occurred to me when I first heard reports that unfunded Access accounts were getting people approved is that… maybe Amex stopped checking altogether. After all, that’s the case with the Ameriprise version of the Platinum card. Frequent Miler had a post way back when in which he was denied for the card due to not having a Morgan Stanley account, which is why I went to the trouble of setting up the Access account to begin with. However, the sequence of events here seems to suggest that Amex has reverted to taking you at your word when you say that you have an account.
Let’s not forget that I was instantly approved for the card, as were most people who applied using the Access method… including people who hadn’t even funded their account. It would be unusual for Amex to approve an application and then deny it later after a review — it would seem more logical for them to send the application to pending like they did with FM, and then either approve or deny it from there.
I also want to be clear that I would find it fucking hilarious if it turned out that anyone could get the card, and that all this Access business was just a whole lot of busy work for nothing. I really want someone to apply out of the blue just so we know for sure, but I’m like 90% sure at this point that Amex just isn’t bothering to check anymore. Even better, the whole Access thing is easily my most meaningful contribution to the churning community (and the “It worked!” post was the most popular thing I’ve ever written), which makes it even funnier to me that my genius little strategy might actually have been a big pile of nothing this whole time.
I’m not going to shut the blog down anytime soon, but speaking from a narrative point of view, it would make for a great end point that the best thing I ever did ended up being a bunch of empty words, thus proving once and for all that I’m just a big old windbag.
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I started the process to setup an Access acc but didn’t complete it prior to the application. Called recon and they mentioned it’s due to not being able to verify my MS acc. I completed the acc opening process and my card was approved.
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Whoa really? Maybe I’m not just a windbag after all! (I mean, not JUST a windbag.)
On the flip side, I haven’t funded MS yet. Of the 5 family accs I opened, one acc is 3 mts old and MS closed it due to lack of funding. All min spends we’re met and MRs have posted. Still not a peep from AX.
Thanks for posting the original tip that inspired me to go collect 300k MR.
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Have been checking your site regularly for this post. Thanks.
Windbag, thank you so much for the MS Plat hack!! I can’t thank you enough!! I applied for the MS Access account as you advertised and finally got my Amx MS Plat and remains opened (as of today, 22 days since my MS Access account was closed by MS, for not funding my account).
I thought, I would never be able to get this Plat, but you made it possible.
thanks again Windbag!! you are the man, to say the least!!
Good post on Amex Plat, good information, thanks Windbag!
Just came across your site so still reading through. So far so good!
76 days since my MS Access account was closed and my Amx MS Plat is still opened. At this point, I don’t see Amx closing my MS Plat bc I no longer have a MS account.
Opened and funded Morgan Stanley Access Investing account on 8OCT, Applied for MS Platinum card same day. App went pending. Called today (11OCT) to try and push it through, CSR stated it was hung up on a security concern, verified my address, CSR then stated it was denied due to not having an eligible MS account. HUCA, CSR again stated no eligible account, I told them the account was new and may not have been in the system when checked, asked to recheck, CSR sent app to a team that can look into it. Now I wait 3-5 days.
Apparently AMEX does indeed check to see if you have a MS account and I now suspect that access investing is not an eligible account. The other comments above give me hope though.
Update: approved after calling recon post denial letter and giving them my access acct number.