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?
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