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AmEx launches brokerage cards

By Janna Herron · Bankrate.com
Monday, March 12, 2012
Posted: 3 pm ET

American Express and Morgan Stanley last week unveiled two new co-branded cards -- one credit card and one charge card -- for Morgan Stanley Smith Barney clients with eligible brokerage accounts.

The Morgan Stanley Credit Card from American Express offers a sign-on bonus of 10,000 points (called Membership Rewards) after spending $1,000 in the first three months. After that, cardholders earn one point for every dollar spent. The $95 annual fee is waived for the first year, and additional cards are not charged the annual fee.

The second card is the Platinum Card from American Express exclusively for Morgan Stanley. Holders of this charge card pocket 50,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first three months. The reward rate is one-for-one, and the annual fee is an eye-opening $450. American Express will issue an additional card for no annual fee.

Cardholders also get access to airport clubs, $200 to cover airline fees, no foreign exchange fees and access to AmEx's concierge services for Platinum cardholders.

Both cards also come with a special bonus on the day the account was opened. Cardholders who spend $25,000 or more during the anniversary year receive an extra $100 from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney into their brokerage account. Those with the charge card who spend $100,000 or more will get $500.

The Platinum card's sign-on bonus is noticeably better than its unbranded counterpart at American Express. American Express Platinum cardholders get only 25,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first three months. That's half the points for twice the spending.

But the plain-vanilla Platinum card offers one-for-one rewards return rate and two points for every dollar when you book travel reservations through AmEx's online portal. Both cards boast the same annual fee.

Would you choose a brokerage credit or charge card? Why or why not?

Follow me on Twitter: @JannaHerron.

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3 Comments
Ray
March 13, 2012 at 10:19 am

I find Amex and Discover not worth the trouble of having. Reason: Not everyone takes them. Here you are trying to chase rewards, present your card to a merchant and voila, "We only take mastercard and visa".

Tom Ferro
March 13, 2012 at 9:08 am

These look interesting - but wondering what the interest rate is, so how much does it cost in finance charges, and are there any fees beyond the annual fee on either card? I'd be curious to know if anyone has tried to apply for one yet, too - and what happened.