Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

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MikeZ
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Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by MikeZ »

This article has me thinking on this: https://dealspoints.com/amex-morgan-sta ... Otqsqcht4c

I was thinking the 1.1% I get at Ally for my emergency fund might be better served doing this and also cancel my Chase Reserve. Does anyone have experience with their Annual Engagement Bonus and know if an FSA account is eligible? Any ways to get a better rate in their cash management account? Or if I can use Ally transfers to meet the $5k a month transfer requirement?
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cowdogman
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Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by cowdogman »

Seems there are a lot of hurdles/traps and ancillary fees in the details. As always, it's individual facts and circumstances that dictate whether a card is worth it. For me, this card looks to be too much of a hassle. Plus if you've had the Platinum before (in whatever form) I'd make sure that doesn't disqualify you from the bonus on this card.
afan
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Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by afan »

If there were a simple minimum to hold in the account to avoid all the fees then it would be a good deal for someone who wanted the card. Having to remember to move $5,000 in and out every month sounds like way too much hassle. I suppose it works fine if you are willing to make it a primary checking account and have paychecks or SS deposited there. Otherwise, as the article notes, barely positive if you are paying the fees.
I would have to want that card a lot.
We don't know how to beat the market on a risk-adjusted basis, and we don't know anyone that does know either | --Swedroe | We assume that markets are efficient, that prices are right | --Fama
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whodidntante
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Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by whodidntante »

afan wrote: Fri Jun 19, 2020 1:04 pm If there were a simple minimum to hold in the account to avoid all the fees then it would be a good deal for someone who wanted the card. Having to remember to move $5,000 in and out every month sounds like way too much hassle. I suppose it works fine if you are willing to make it a primary checking account and have paychecks or SS deposited there. Otherwise, as the article notes, barely positive if you are paying the fees.
I would have to want that card a lot.
I have automated transfers setup at Schwab to satisfy requirements for a 4% savings account that someone offered me. It was simple to do.

$5,000 is enough that you should probably consider the impact of not having it available for a week each month. I.e., at least a quarter of that is locked up, too.
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whodidntante
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Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by whodidntante »

I've considered it. I have not done it because:

- I still have a little bit of a mortgage left. So I wouldn't want to keep 30k parked someplace since I would effectively be paying 3.125% on that money versus using it for mortgage prepayment.
- I'm mostly imprisoned in my house right now, unable to travel the world as I normally like to do. So the AmEx consultant card is significantly less valuable right now.
- General reluctance to get sucked into the Morgan Stanley vortex. I.e., I don't want either of the two required MS accounts in reality, so I would just begrudgingly use them, most likely.

I'll be monitoring the thread to see if there is value I missed, however.
WS1
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Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by WS1 »

Even if you are terrible at redeeming Amex points the sign-up bonus is worth $812 cashed out via Schwab Amex Plat. If you’ve got a system to automate the transactions I’d consider it.
afan
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Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by afan »

I suppose you could set up automatic transfers of $5,000 in on the 1st and out on the 2nd.
Paying them a fee to hold the money in an investment account would be very difficult for me. I would also fear that I would not be able to tell the brokers never to contact me, not by email, phone or smoke signal. I don't want their help in investing. I just want the card. Maybe they would respect that, I suspect not.
We don't know how to beat the market on a risk-adjusted basis, and we don't know anyone that does know either | --Swedroe | We assume that markets are efficient, that prices are right | --Fama
inverter
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Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by inverter »

I would not go to Morgan Stanley under any circumstances. They don’t offer a standalone brokerage account without an advisor and their fees and business model are from the 90s.

Guess who has an account stuck there. :sharebeer
cowbman
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Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by cowbman »

afan wrote: Fri Jun 19, 2020 1:43 pm I suppose you could set up automatic transfers of $5,000 in on the 1st and out on the 2nd.
Paying them a fee to hold the money in an investment account would be very difficult for me. I would also fear that I would not be able to tell the brokers never to contact me, not by email, phone or smoke signal. I don't want their help in investing. I just want the card. Maybe they would respect that, I suspect not.
Morgan Stanley offers the Access Invest account with a minimum of $5,000 and a 0.35% annual fee. If my Math is correct, that's $17.50. If the balance starts to increase, you may want to think about transferring it out. No idea with there is a partial ACAT fee. However, $17.50 for a free Amex Platinum card is still a great deal with current interest rates. I'm honestly more worried about the $25k in the CMA receiving almost 0% interest. That's the bigger drag.
afan
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Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by afan »

If you forego 1% interest on that $25,000, then that is $250 per year. Plus $17.50=$267.50. A Schwab Amex Platinum is $350, after the $200 cash back.

I suppose the Platinum is a good card if you highly value lounge access. 5x points on travel booked through Amex is also good, provided you have a choice how to book. The other benefits are not so good compared to fhe chase sapphire reserve. The $300 travel reimbursement is a snap to use. Also has hotel benefits. Lyft instead of Uber, but the Platinum is not $200/year. You get only a small amount each month. Use it or lose it

I would find it far easier to have a relationship with Schwab than MS, which I would not touch with a ten foot pole.
We don't know how to beat the market on a risk-adjusted basis, and we don't know anyone that does know either | --Swedroe | We assume that markets are efficient, that prices are right | --Fama
tj
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Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by tj »

whodidntante wrote: Fri Jun 19, 2020 1:15 pm
afan wrote: Fri Jun 19, 2020 1:04 pm If there were a simple minimum to hold in the account to avoid all the fees then it would be a good deal for someone who wanted the card. Having to remember to move $5,000 in and out every month sounds like way too much hassle. I suppose it works fine if you are willing to make it a primary checking account and have paychecks or SS deposited there. Otherwise, as the article notes, barely positive if you are paying the fees.
I would have to want that card a lot.
I have automated transfers setup at Schwab to satisfy requirements for a 4% savings account that someone offered me. It was simple to do.

$5,000 is enough that you should probably consider the impact of not having it available for a week each month. I.e., at least a quarter of that is locked up, too.
Who is paying 4%?
Jags4186
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Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by Jags4186 »

If you want a “free” AMEX Platinum you’re better off opening 2 or 3 bank accounts with that $30,000 for the new account bonuses and use those bonuses to pay for the annual fee. This way you can call every year for a nice juicy retention bonus when the $550 annual fee posts. I don’t see AMEX giving retention bonuses if you’re not paying an annual fee.
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whodidntante
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Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by whodidntante »

tj wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:03 am
whodidntante wrote: Fri Jun 19, 2020 1:15 pm
afan wrote: Fri Jun 19, 2020 1:04 pm If there were a simple minimum to hold in the account to avoid all the fees then it would be a good deal for someone who wanted the card. Having to remember to move $5,000 in and out every month sounds like way too much hassle. I suppose it works fine if you are willing to make it a primary checking account and have paychecks or SS deposited there. Otherwise, as the article notes, barely positive if you are paying the fees.
I would have to want that card a lot.
I have automated transfers setup at Schwab to satisfy requirements for a 4% savings account that someone offered me. It was simple to do.

$5,000 is enough that you should probably consider the impact of not having it available for a week each month. I.e., at least a quarter of that is locked up, too.
Who is paying 4%?
T mobile money.
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batpot
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Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by batpot »

whodidntante wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 10:40 am
tj wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:03 am
whodidntante wrote: Fri Jun 19, 2020 1:15 pm
afan wrote: Fri Jun 19, 2020 1:04 pm If there were a simple minimum to hold in the account to avoid all the fees then it would be a good deal for someone who wanted the card. Having to remember to move $5,000 in and out every month sounds like way too much hassle. I suppose it works fine if you are willing to make it a primary checking account and have paychecks or SS deposited there. Otherwise, as the article notes, barely positive if you are paying the fees.
I would have to want that card a lot.
I have automated transfers setup at Schwab to satisfy requirements for a 4% savings account that someone offered me. It was simple to do.

$5,000 is enough that you should probably consider the impact of not having it available for a week each month. I.e., at least a quarter of that is locked up, too.
Who is paying 4%?
T mobile money.
only for balances up to $3k...and you have to be a T-Mobile customer? Yuck.

Similar to the netspend cards which were 5% on $1k (prior to that they were $5k). I had 5 of those before consolidating and closing them down last year.
Interest only posted quarterly, but still required 20 logins a year to move the money out, after setting up auto deposit and withdrawals.
I decided that was too much work.

DOC has the most comprehensive list of high yield accounts I've seen:
https://www.doctorofcredit.com/high-int ... Nationwide
Most of them are too much effort for me.
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whodidntante
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Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by whodidntante »

batpot wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 12:54 pm
whodidntante wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 10:40 am
tj wrote: Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:03 am
whodidntante wrote: Fri Jun 19, 2020 1:15 pm
afan wrote: Fri Jun 19, 2020 1:04 pm If there were a simple minimum to hold in the account to avoid all the fees then it would be a good deal for someone who wanted the card. Having to remember to move $5,000 in and out every month sounds like way too much hassle. I suppose it works fine if you are willing to make it a primary checking account and have paychecks or SS deposited there. Otherwise, as the article notes, barely positive if you are paying the fees.
I would have to want that card a lot.
I have automated transfers setup at Schwab to satisfy requirements for a 4% savings account that someone offered me. It was simple to do.

$5,000 is enough that you should probably consider the impact of not having it available for a week each month. I.e., at least a quarter of that is locked up, too.
Who is paying 4%?
T mobile money.
only for balances up to $3k...and you have to be a T-Mobile customer? Yuck.

Similar to the netspend cards which were 5% on $1k (prior to that they were $5k). I had 5 of those before consolidating and closing them down last year.
Interest only posted quarterly, but still required 20 logins a year to move the money out, after setting up auto deposit and withdrawals.
I decided that was too much work.

DOC has the most comprehensive list of high yield accounts I've seen:
https://www.doctorofcredit.com/high-int ... Nationwide
Most of them are too much effort for me.
I agree. The account is offered as a perk of being a T-mobile customer. The requirements are incredibly easy to meet so I did it.

I have another account that I opened for a $500 bonus that will also pay 3% if I jump through the right hoops. Meh. I can get 2.15% tax-deferred in the stable value fund of my 401k, on any amount I want to invest. So the marginal benefit is little or none.
skibummer
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Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by skibummer »

afan wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 8:08 pm If you forego 1% interest on that $25,000, then that is $250 per year. Plus $17.50=$267.50. A Schwab Amex Platinum is $350, after the $200 cash back.

I suppose the Platinum is a good card if you highly value lounge access. 5x points on travel booked through Amex is also good, provided you have a choice how to book. The other benefits are not so good compared to fhe chase sapphire reserve. The $300 travel reimbursement is a snap to use. Also has hotel benefits. Lyft instead of Uber, but the Platinum is not $200/year. You get only a small amount each month. Use it or lose it

I would find it far easier to have a relationship with Schwab than MS, which I would not touch with a ten foot pole.
I am currently transitioning from the Schwab American Express Platinum card to Morgan Stanley American Express Platinum card for several reasons. The Morgan Stanley American Express Platinum card includes a no-fee additional Platinum card for an authorized user (normally an extra $175 cost). Even though I get a $200 annual Schwab relationship balance credit on my Schwab American Express Platinum card, I still pay $525/yr for my spouse and I to have the American Express Platinum card ($550/first card+$175/for additional card minus $200 Schwab credit). Given my Federal, state and NIIT tax rates, I have to make almost $1000 in interest before taxes so that after taxes paid I have the $525 described above to pay my annual fees to American Express since I pay my annual fees in after-tax dollars.

Recently I moved over the minimum $5,000 to open a Morgan Stanley Access Investing account (robo investing). Fees are 0.35% robo advisor fee plus index ETF expense ratios in a 75% equities 25% fixed income allocation. I then opened a Morgan Stanley Platinum CashPlus CMA account ($45/monthly fee waived with a $25,000 ADB with $5,000 monthly deposits (the $5,000 doesn't have to stay but can be moved out shortly thereafter). Meeting those 2 requirements gives me a Morgan Stanley annual engagement bonus of $550 (with no 1099 issued on the $550 as long as I spend $1,000 or more on the Platinum card per year). All I am losing is around 0.6% (best "easy" rate on an Ally savings account yield currently) on the $25,000 balance since the other $5,000 is actually invested, or $150/yr before taxes or around $85 after taxes are paid. That certainly beats the nearly $1000 in interest before taxes I would have to earn to equal the savings I am getting with the Morgan Stanley American Express Platinum deal. I am still keeping the rest of my assets with Schwab and just meeting the minimum requirements at Morgan Stanley for the above American Express Platinum deal.
UpperNwGuy
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Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by UpperNwGuy »

OP, are you planning to travel during the next year? I know I'm not, and I normally travel often. Without the travel, the Amex Platinum card has little value.
skibummer
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Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by skibummer »

UpperNwGuy wrote: Sat Oct 10, 2020 8:01 am OP, are you planning to travel during the next year? I know I'm not, and I normally travel often. Without the travel, the Amex Platinum card has little value.
We still will make 2-3 trips this next year to visit family or take a vacation (wearing an N95 mask with a face shield, avoiding food and drink on the plane, wiping down your seat area along with some additional common sense goes a long way). As several pilots have stated on this forum the HEPA filtration on these metal tubes are better than almost any office or residential setting. Caring for COVID+ patients on an almost daily basis I am confortable with an N95/face mask for several hours on a plane compared to my "new normal" daily routine.

With the Uber credits alone (can use for pick up food) I more than break even. I find the extra warranty coverage untouchable on the American Express Platinum, and if you ever have a merchant issue the dispute resolution with Amex Platinum is unmatched. For our needs, even without much travel an almost free Amex Platinum for myself and my spouse still make sense. The streaming credits, wireless credits, small business and random Amex merchant deals have more than covered all of my fees plus several hundred dollars in the black.
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Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by tj »

skibummer wrote: Sat Oct 10, 2020 7:57 am
afan wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 8:08 pm If you forego 1% interest on that $25,000, then that is $250 per year. Plus $17.50=$267.50. A Schwab Amex Platinum is $350, after the $200 cash back.

I suppose the Platinum is a good card if you highly value lounge access. 5x points on travel booked through Amex is also good, provided you have a choice how to book. The other benefits are not so good compared to fhe chase sapphire reserve. The $300 travel reimbursement is a snap to use. Also has hotel benefits. Lyft instead of Uber, but the Platinum is not $200/year. You get only a small amount each month. Use it or lose it

I would find it far easier to have a relationship with Schwab than MS, which I would not touch with a ten foot pole.
I am currently transitioning from the Schwab American Express Platinum card to Morgan Stanley American Express Platinum card for several reasons. The Morgan Stanley American Express Platinum card includes a no-fee additional Platinum card for an authorized user (normally an extra $175 cost). Even though I get a $200 annual Schwab relationship balance credit on my Schwab American Express Platinum card, I still pay $525/yr for my spouse and I to have the American Express Platinum card ($550/first card+$175/for additional card minus $200 Schwab credit). Given my Federal, state and NIIT tax rates, I have to make almost $1000 in interest before taxes so that after taxes paid I have the $525 described above to pay my annual fees to American Express since I pay my annual fees in after-tax dollars.

Recently I moved over the minimum $5,000 to open a Morgan Stanley Access Investing account (robo investing). Fees are 0.35% robo advisor fee plus index ETF expense ratios in a 75% equities 25% fixed income allocation. I then opened a Morgan Stanley Platinum CashPlus CMA account ($45/monthly fee waived with a $25,000 ADB with $5,000 monthly deposits (the $5,000 doesn't have to stay but can be moved out shortly thereafter). Meeting those 2 requirements gives me a Morgan Stanley annual engagement bonus of $550 (with no 1099 issued on the $550 as long as I spend $1,000 or more on the Platinum card per year). All I am losing is around 0.6% (best "easy" rate on an Ally savings account yield currently) on the $25,000 balance since the other $5,000 is actually invested, or $150/yr before taxes or around $85 after taxes are paid. That certainly beats the nearly $1000 in interest before taxes I would have to earn to equal the savings I am getting with the Morgan Stanley American Express Platinum deal. I am still keeping the rest of my assets with Schwab and just meeting the minimum requirements at Morgan Stanley for the above American Express Platinum deal.
It's too bad you can't just park the whole amount in the robo. That would be much simpler.
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Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by cowbman »

skibummer wrote: Sat Oct 10, 2020 7:57 am
afan wrote: Sat Jul 18, 2020 8:08 pm If you forego 1% interest on that $25,000, then that is $250 per year. Plus $17.50=$267.50. A Schwab Amex Platinum is $350, after the $200 cash back.

I suppose the Platinum is a good card if you highly value lounge access. 5x points on travel booked through Amex is also good, provided you have a choice how to book. The other benefits are not so good compared to fhe chase sapphire reserve. The $300 travel reimbursement is a snap to use. Also has hotel benefits. Lyft instead of Uber, but the Platinum is not $200/year. You get only a small amount each month. Use it or lose it

I would find it far easier to have a relationship with Schwab than MS, which I would not touch with a ten foot pole.
I am currently transitioning from the Schwab American Express Platinum card to Morgan Stanley American Express Platinum card for several reasons. The Morgan Stanley American Express Platinum card includes a no-fee additional Platinum card for an authorized user (normally an extra $175 cost). Even though I get a $200 annual Schwab relationship balance credit on my Schwab American Express Platinum card, I still pay $525/yr for my spouse and I to have the American Express Platinum card ($550/first card+$175/for additional card minus $200 Schwab credit). Given my Federal, state and NIIT tax rates, I have to make almost $1000 in interest before taxes so that after taxes paid I have the $525 described above to pay my annual fees to American Express since I pay my annual fees in after-tax dollars.

Recently I moved over the minimum $5,000 to open a Morgan Stanley Access Investing account (robo investing). Fees are 0.35% robo advisor fee plus index ETF expense ratios in a 75% equities 25% fixed income allocation. I then opened a Morgan Stanley Platinum CashPlus CMA account ($45/monthly fee waived with a $25,000 ADB with $5,000 monthly deposits (the $5,000 doesn't have to stay but can be moved out shortly thereafter). Meeting those 2 requirements gives me a Morgan Stanley annual engagement bonus of $550 (with no 1099 issued on the $550 as long as I spend $1,000 or more on the Platinum card per year). All I am losing is around 0.6% (best "easy" rate on an Ally savings account yield currently) on the $25,000 balance since the other $5,000 is actually invested, or $150/yr before taxes or around $85 after taxes are paid. That certainly beats the nearly $1000 in interest before taxes I would have to earn to equal the savings I am getting with the Morgan Stanley American Express Platinum deal. I am still keeping the rest of my assets with Schwab and just meeting the minimum requirements at Morgan Stanley for the above American Express Platinum deal.
+1. If you consider after-tax net of the Amex Platinum AF, it's a rather good rate (likely above 3% APY pre-tax for many on the $25k)
cowbman
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Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by cowbman »

skibummer wrote: Sat Oct 10, 2020 8:12 am
UpperNwGuy wrote: Sat Oct 10, 2020 8:01 am OP, are you planning to travel during the next year? I know I'm not, and I normally travel often. Without the travel, the Amex Platinum card has little value.
We still will make 2-3 trips this next year to visit family or take a vacation (wearing an N95 mask with a face shield, avoiding food and drink on the plane, wiping down your seat area along with some additional common sense goes a long way). As several pilots have stated on this forum the HEPA filtration on these metal tubes are better than almost any office or residential setting. Caring for COVID+ patients on an almost daily basis I am confortable with an N95/face mask for several hours on a plane compared to my "new normal" daily routine.

With the Uber credits alone (can use for pick up food) I more than break even. I find the extra warranty coverage untouchable on the American Express Platinum, and if you ever have a merchant issue the dispute resolution with Amex Platinum is unmatched. For our needs, even without much travel an almost free Amex Platinum for myself and my spouse still make sense. The streaming credits, wireless credits, small business and random Amex merchant deals have more than covered all of my fees plus several hundred dollars in the black.
Agree, credits are still valuable. With the change in spending habits of many, and the changing credits on the Gold card, I wonder if they might change them on the Platinum too.
DrGrnTum
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Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by DrGrnTum »

afan wrote: Fri Jun 19, 2020 1:04 pm If there were a simple minimum to hold in the account to avoid all the fees then it would be a good deal for someone who wanted the card. Having to remember to move $5,000 in and out every month sounds like way too much hassle. I suppose it works fine if you are willing to make it a primary checking account and have paychecks or SS deposited there. Otherwise, as the article notes, barely positive if you are paying the fees.
I would have to want that card a lot.
If you do a monthly deposit of any amount of Social Security money you will meet that monthly deposit requirement. This is according to fee statement on the Platinum CashPlus account.
If you travel, and you take advantage of all the benefits of the Platinum Card, I think you will make up any lost interest for the $25,000 that will be sitting in the Platinum CashPlus account.
Snezz1e
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Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by Snezz1e »

I think it is worth signing up for Morgan Stanley Amex Platinum and Platinum CashPlus account but not worth parking the 30k.

For me I have 100k locked up at Merrill Edge for BOA Platinum Honors benefits so I don't have the 250k to also get Schwab discount (close but not yet). Even if I did, I like transferring my money around for brokerage bonuses which is worth more than the $100 savings from Schwab.

The way I see it. Sign up through Amex and you pay $550 and get the card and nothing else. Through Schwab maybe $100 off once you have enough assets and the 1.25pp cash out option. Through Morgan Stanley it's only $540 ($45x12) for the card plus a free authorized user plus a cash management account with some nice benefits.

For Morgan Stanley, open the Platinum Cash Plus and the Amex Platinum and don't do anything to meet the fee waiver. So no need to open the investment access account with $5k or the $25k savings. Just put enough in to pay the $45 fee every month. All these account requirements listed on the site is to avoid the $45 monthly fee. Just having the account entitles you to the $550 Amex Platinum reimbursement. So you effectively get the card for $540. That's $10 cheaper then getting the card through Amex directly. Even if you could get the extra $100 from Schwab, MS gets you the extra authorized user. For me I only need one authorized user so the $175 for 3 AUs isn't worth it to me but $90 extra compared to Schwab is worth it for 1 AU. The 1.25pp cash out option is useless to me since I get better value transferring points to travel partners.

The CashPlus account also has 2 month grace period following the month its open so if you open the account on the first of the month you save 3 months of fees making first year annual fee to be only $405 if keeping the card long term. Or you can simply close the account after you get the reimbursement. Depending on how long it takes you might be out only $45. This is more for bonus chasers.

The CashPlus has a lot of nice benefits. No fees for anything including wires and foreign exchange fees. ATM rebates. I like free wires since I started investing in stablecoins savings accounts and some of the providers only take wires and some have long hold times for ACH transfers. They also pay identity protection for 4 people. It is for comprehensive 3-bureau coverage through Experian. An equivalent service direct from experian is $20/month. However, there are cheaper identity protection out there such as the $9/month service from Experian by going through Costco. Comparing the two the Morgan Stanley version has a few extra benefits over Costco. I personally assign a $10/month per person value to it so I see it as getting another free $480/year benefit.

So in total I'm paying $540 for the Amex Platinum, 1 Authorized User, Cashplus account with no fees and free wires, and $480 in identity/credit monitoring.

Holding the 25k at 0% is not worth it since it will only save me $540. 540/25k is 2.16%. Factoring in the fact it is tax free makes it 2.84% for those in 24% tax bracket. I have access to an account making 4% tax deferred so it's not worth it. For others HMBradley will pay 3% relatively hassle free so still not worth it. This is on top of also having to open the Access account with $5k which comes with additional management fees.
SlowMovingInvestor
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Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by SlowMovingInvestor »

I do have an Etrade account, and have a largish sum parked there. Now Etrade is part of MS.

Any way Etrade account holders can get an MS Amex Plat fee refund ?
Portfolio: 50% DOGE, 10% SPACs, 10% Frozen OJ futures, 10% MOON ETF, 10% NFTs , 5% FOMO ETF, 5% New Jersey Delis with $100M market cap :)
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Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by student »

skibummer wrote: Sat Oct 10, 2020 7:57 am Recently I moved over the minimum $5,000 to open a Morgan Stanley Access Investing account (robo investing). Fees are 0.35% robo advisor fee plus index ETF expense ratios in a 75% equities 25% fixed income allocation.
Is it possible to specify that you want 100% fixed income allocation? I don't want ETF that accidentally causes a wash sale.
hachiko
Posts: 228
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:56 pm

Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by hachiko »

Snezz1e wrote: Fri Mar 26, 2021 9:05 pm I think it is worth signing up for Morgan Stanley Amex Platinum and Platinum CashPlus account but not worth parking the 30k.

For me I have 100k locked up at Merrill Edge for BOA Platinum Honors benefits so I don't have the 250k to also get Schwab discount (close but not yet). Even if I did, I like transferring my money around for brokerage bonuses which is worth more than the $100 savings from Schwab.

The way I see it. Sign up through Amex and you pay $550 and get the card and nothing else. Through Schwab maybe $100 off once you have enough assets and the 1.25pp cash out option. Through Morgan Stanley it's only $540 ($45x12) for the card plus a free authorized user plus a cash management account with some nice benefits.

For Morgan Stanley, open the Platinum Cash Plus and the Amex Platinum and don't do anything to meet the fee waiver.
This is what I want to do as well. Were you able to set this up? How did you open the CashPlus account without another brokerage account? When I try to "open online" the system requires logging into MS or entering in my current account number.
Gus Chiggins
Posts: 47
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:35 am

Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by Gus Chiggins »

student wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 8:44 am
skibummer wrote: Sat Oct 10, 2020 7:57 am Recently I moved over the minimum $5,000 to open a Morgan Stanley Access Investing account (robo investing). Fees are 0.35% robo advisor fee plus index ETF expense ratios in a 75% equities 25% fixed income allocation.
Is it possible to specify that you want 100% fixed income allocation? I don't want ETF that accidentally causes a wash sale.
No. And you can’t avoid potential wash sale risk by shutting off automatic rebalancing. This was the exact reason I didn’t pursue this plan, as all the low cost passive portfolios have some ITOT, which is my US total market holding in my taxable account. It felt like the risk of an unintended wash sale wasn’t worth the upside.

I’ve been rethinking it, though, as a tax free reimbursement for an AmEx Platinum plus an authorized user is a really good return on $25,000 when you already carry an AmEx Platinum anyway, especially since it will allow us both Centurion and Sky Club access in addition to the standard perks. I’d just have to be more careful when doing any tax loss harvesting.
Last edited by Gus Chiggins on Thu Apr 29, 2021 6:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
student
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Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2015 6:58 am

Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by student »

Gus Chiggins wrote: Thu Apr 29, 2021 3:17 pm
student wrote: Sun Apr 11, 2021 8:44 am
skibummer wrote: Sat Oct 10, 2020 7:57 am Recently I moved over the minimum $5,000 to open a Morgan Stanley Access Investing account (robo investing). Fees are 0.35% robo advisor fee plus index ETF expense ratios in a 75% equities 25% fixed income allocation.
Is it possible to specify that you want 100% fixed income allocation? I don't want ETF that accidentally causes a wash sale.
No. And you can’t avoid potential wash sale risk by shutting off automatic rebalancing. This was the exact reason I didn’t pursue this plan, as all the low cost passive portfolios have some ITOT, which is my US total market holding in my taxable account. It felt like the risk of an unintended wash sale wasn’t worth the upside.

I’ve been rethinking it, though, as a tax free reimbursement for an AmEx Platinum plus an authorized user is a really good return on $25,000 when you already carry an AmEx Platinum anyway, especially since it will allow us both Centurion And Sky Club access in addition to the other perks. I’d just have to be more careful when doing any tax loss harvesting.
Thanks for the reply. Yes. It is really a good deal if one likes to travel.
afan
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Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by afan »

Well, it may be a good deal if you like to travel AND you will use the very restricted benefits of the card. Would you purchase something at Saks? I have never done so. If I had the card, maybe I would but a $100 T-shirt because that was about it for things I could use. I would not consider it worth anything.
The Uber credit is not "the first $200 of Uber expenses". Rather it is a few dollars a month. Use it or lose it. One could easily spend much more than $200/ year on Uber and get little of it covered by the card.

Lounge access is probably worth it for those who have a lot of layovers and spend the time in lounges. If nearly all your flights are nonstop, then the lounge would be useful only while waiting for delayed flights. Nice to have, but not that valuable, unless you fly a lot of routes with long delays.

Airline incidentals rule out almost everything I would pay an airline for and I would not have to pick one airline.

5% back on travel booked through AMEX is nice, if you book through AMEX.

For many people who want a premier travel card, I still think CSR is better. You get a flat $300 back on anything broadly defined as travel. You could use it all in a month on Uber trips if you did that many. You could use it for tickets on any airline....

If you live in an AMEX world and like it there, then this is probably the least expensive way to get the Platinum card.

On the investment account, do you have to let them pick the investments? Or can you drop the money in a CD or T-bond and call it a day?
We don't know how to beat the market on a risk-adjusted basis, and we don't know anyone that does know either | --Swedroe | We assume that markets are efficient, that prices are right | --Fama
Snezz1e
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Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by Snezz1e »

hachiko wrote: Thu Apr 29, 2021 9:32 am
Snezz1e wrote: Fri Mar 26, 2021 9:05 pm I think it is worth signing up for Morgan Stanley Amex Platinum and Platinum CashPlus account but not worth parking the 30k.

For me I have 100k locked up at Merrill Edge for BOA Platinum Honors benefits so I don't have the 250k to also get Schwab discount (close but not yet). Even if I did, I like transferring my money around for brokerage bonuses which is worth more than the $100 savings from Schwab.

The way I see it. Sign up through Amex and you pay $550 and get the card and nothing else. Through Schwab maybe $100 off once you have enough assets and the 1.25pp cash out option. Through Morgan Stanley it's only $540 ($45x12) for the card plus a free authorized user plus a cash management account with some nice benefits.

For Morgan Stanley, open the Platinum Cash Plus and the Amex Platinum and don't do anything to meet the fee waiver.
This is what I want to do as well. Were you able to set this up? How did you open the CashPlus account without another brokerage account? When I try to "open online" the system requires logging into MS or entering in my current account number.
You have to open the brokerage account. Just don't fund it. Once you have account open you can apply for the CashPlus account.
student
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Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2015 6:58 am

Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by student »

Snezz1e wrote: Thu Apr 29, 2021 6:44 pm
hachiko wrote: Thu Apr 29, 2021 9:32 am
Snezz1e wrote: Fri Mar 26, 2021 9:05 pm I think it is worth signing up for Morgan Stanley Amex Platinum and Platinum CashPlus account but not worth parking the 30k.

For me I have 100k locked up at Merrill Edge for BOA Platinum Honors benefits so I don't have the 250k to also get Schwab discount (close but not yet). Even if I did, I like transferring my money around for brokerage bonuses which is worth more than the $100 savings from Schwab.

The way I see it. Sign up through Amex and you pay $550 and get the card and nothing else. Through Schwab maybe $100 off once you have enough assets and the 1.25pp cash out option. Through Morgan Stanley it's only $540 ($45x12) for the card plus a free authorized user plus a cash management account with some nice benefits.

For Morgan Stanley, open the Platinum Cash Plus and the Amex Platinum and don't do anything to meet the fee waiver.
This is what I want to do as well. Were you able to set this up? How did you open the CashPlus account without another brokerage account? When I try to "open online" the system requires logging into MS or entering in my current account number.
You have to open the brokerage account. Just don't fund it. Once you have account open you can apply for the CashPlus account.
They allow you to not fund it? It says $5k minimum.
hachiko
Posts: 228
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:56 pm

Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by hachiko »

I tried doing that and just opening it online and it said my account wasn't eligible. I called and they said I had to fund it.

I wonder what taking a withdrawal of half of the balance in like a month would do.
hachiko
Posts: 228
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:56 pm

Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by hachiko »

afan wrote: Thu Apr 29, 2021 6:15 pm Well, it may be a good deal if you like to travel AND you will use the very restricted benefits of the card. Would you purchase something at Saks? I have never done so. If I had the card, maybe I would but a $100 T-shirt because that was about it for things I could use. I would not consider it worth anything.
The Uber credit is not "the first $200 of Uber expenses". Rather it is a few dollars a month. Use it or lose it. One could easily spend much more than $200/ year on Uber and get little of it covered by the card.

Lounge access is probably worth it for those who have a lot of layovers and spend the time in lounges. If nearly all your flights are nonstop, then the lounge would be useful only while waiting for delayed flights. Nice to have, but not that valuable, unless you fly a lot of routes with long delays.

Airline incidentals rule out almost everything I would pay an airline for and I would not have to pick one airline.

5% back on travel booked through AMEX is nice, if you book through AMEX.

For many people who want a premier travel card, I still think CSR is better. You get a flat $300 back on anything broadly defined as travel. You could use it all in a month on Uber trips if you did that many. You could use it for tickets on any airline....

If you live in an AMEX world and like it there, then this is probably the least expensive way to get the Platinum card.

On the investment account, do you have to let them pick the investments? Or can you drop the money in a CD or T-bond and call it a day?
Disagree that the CSR is better. Is it possible to completely offset the annual fee? It certainly is possible, and pretty easy, with the Plat.

Saks - they have things worthwhile that are priced the same as elsewhere. Kitchen knives for instance. I've gotten several good knives at $50 cheaper than I could find elsewhere.

Uber - With Ubereats I spend way more than $40 in every month. Who is spending much more than $200/year and only getting little of it covered? Sure, you "could" take $400 of Uber in January and $0 for the rest of the year, but who does that?

Lounge access - sometimes you have to get to the airport early. Sometimes you're trying to get onto earlier flights. Lots of times flights are delayed. If you fly commercially for any significant number of flights, you're going to see benefits from the lounge access (that is assuming, of course, you have a lounge in your departing airport and you like the lounge). I would also say, I've used a lounge on arrival at least 5-6 times/year. Either waiting for pickups/meetups, showering before meetings after red-eyes, etc.

Airline incidentals - get creative ;)

5x MR on AmexTravel - generally no reason not to book through Amex now that Citi Prestige got rid of their trip delay reimbursement. So, why not? Also, 5x MR is worth, at a bare minimum 6.25% cash back.

You forgot other benefits like return protection and purchase protection. Compare Amex's processing to Chase's. They're not even close.

You're also missing lots of other benefits. For example, this year so far - $100 off Best Buy, $100 off Home Depot, $100 off Instacart (which includes Costco), $100 off Homechef, Paypal, Dell, etc.
Cruise
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Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by Cruise »

If you travel, the Amex Plat does have some benefits not available on the CSR (although they have a similar program). For example, I will be doing a four-night stay at an FHR hotel. The room rate on the FHR site is the same on the hotel site, but the added AMEX FHR benefit includes free breakfast every day ($100/day), plus a $100/stay additional F&B credit. So, that is a $500 savings.

Over the past six months, these are additional $180 credits AMEX has given:

AMEX PAYPAL CREDIT-$30.00
SHOP SAKS WITH PLATINUM CREDIT-$50.00
AMEX WIRELESS PHONE SERVICE CREDIT -$20.00
AMEX STREAMING SUBSCRIPTION CREDIT -$6.40
AMEX STREAMING SUBSCRIPTION CREDIT-$13.60
AMEX WIRELESS PHONE SERVICE CREDIT-$20.00
AMEX STREAMING SUBSCRIPTION CREDIT-$13.60
AMEX STREAMING SUBSCRIPTION CREDIT -$6.40
AMEX WIRELESS PHONE SERVICE CREDIT-$20.00

So, in the last six months, I've gotten $680 of credits on things that I would have purchased anyway. The six months before that had similarly copious credits.
SpaethCo
Posts: 327
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Location: Minneapolis

Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by SpaethCo »

SlowMovingInvestor wrote: Sat Mar 27, 2021 6:27 am Any way Etrade account holders can get an MS Amex Plat fee refund ?
No.

Also, previously MS clients with $1+m AUM could get the engagement bonus, and that is no longer the case. This is all about getting cash into MS Private Bank, so the $25k in average daily balance and $5k in monthly deposits are hard requirements.

In general, this offer has 2 parts:

Part 1:
  • Open an Access Investing account and contribute the $5k minimum to establish a Morgan Stanley relationship. This allows you to open the MS Amex Platinum to take advantage of the complimentary first authorized user. ($175/year savings)
Part 2:
  • Open a Platinum CashPlus account. This must be done over the phone with the general call center staff that back up the primary advisors and with an exchange of Docusign forms. Depending on if the rep you get is familiar with opening these accounts, that will determine how accurate the information is regarding opening requirements, if you get your initial debit card / check order, and other account details.
  • Get your accounts in the same ALG (Account Link Group). Normally the system automatically links accounts together by SSN, address, and advisor. With Access Investing you don't have an assigned advisor, so your accounts won't link for the purposes of waiving the CashPlus monthly fee unless you call and find an call center rep who knows how to manually link your accounts together in the same ALG. (This is different from the accounts being linked to Morgan Stanley Online, which lets you see all your accounts using a common user/password)
  • Meet the $25k average daily balance and $5k in monthly deposit requirements.
So as was pointed out earlier in the thread, this isn't a free Amex. This waives $45/mo in account fees for $25k static and $5k in recurring deposits, but you only come out ahead (or behind) by the delta of anything else you could do with that cash.

If you value the features of the CashPlus account (Debit Mastercard with no FTF and all ATM fees refunded as they post, large ACH limits, credit monitoring) then this could very well be worth it. If you didn't have plans to utilize the CashPlus account, I wouldn't bother with Part 2.
hachiko
Posts: 228
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:56 pm

Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by hachiko »

SpaethCo wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 1:28 pm
SlowMovingInvestor wrote: Sat Mar 27, 2021 6:27 am Any way Etrade account holders can get an MS Amex Plat fee refund ?
No.

Also, previously MS clients with $1+m AUM could get the engagement bonus, and that is no longer the case. This is all about getting cash into MS Private Bank, so the $25k in average daily balance and $5k in monthly deposits are hard requirements.

In general, this offer has 2 parts:

Part 1:
  • Open an Access Investing account and contribute the $5k minimum to establish a Morgan Stanley relationship. This allows you to open the MS Amex Platinum to take advantage of the complimentary first authorized user. ($175/year savings)
Part 2:
  • Open a Platinum CashPlus account. This must be done over the phone with the general call center staff that back up the primary advisors and with an exchange of Docusign forms. Depending on if the rep you get is familiar with opening these accounts, that will determine how accurate the information is regarding opening requirements, if you get your initial debit card / check order, and other account details.
  • Get your accounts in the same ALG (Account Link Group). Normally the system automatically links accounts together by SSN, address, and advisor. With Access Investing you don't have an assigned advisor, so your accounts won't link for the purposes of waiving the CashPlus monthly fee unless you call and find an call center rep who knows how to manually link your accounts together in the same ALG. (This is different from the accounts being linked to Morgan Stanley Online, which lets you see all your accounts using a common user/password)
  • Meet the $25k average daily balance and $5k in monthly deposit requirements.
So as was pointed out earlier in the thread, this isn't a free Amex. This waives $45/mo in account fees for $25k static and $5k in recurring deposits, but you only come out ahead (or behind) by the delta of anything else you could do with that cash.

If you value the features of the CashPlus account (Debit Mastercard with no FTF and all ATM fees refunded as they post, large ACH limits, credit monitoring) then this could very well be worth it. If you didn't have plans to utilize the CashPlus account, I wouldn't bother with Part 2.
Wait, is the 5k/25k a requirement to get the $550 bonus from MS? My reading is that the 5k/25k is required for the fee waiver on the cashplus account. However, the $550 bonus is paid for anyone who has an MS Amex and the cashplus platinum account. My reading is that you do not need to qualify for the cashplus fee waiver in order to receive the $550 bonus. But please let me know if I'm wrong before I go all in!
SpaethCo
Posts: 327
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2016 12:58 am
Location: Minneapolis

Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by SpaethCo »

hachiko wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 1:48 pm Wait, is the 5k/25k a requirement to get the $550 bonus from MS? My reading is that the 5k/25k is required for the fee waiver on the cashplus account. However, the $550 bonus is paid for anyone who has an MS Amex and the cashplus platinum account. My reading is that you do not need to qualify for the cashplus fee waiver in order to receive the $550 bonus. But please let me know if I'm wrong before I go all in!
You didn't misunderstand that part - you get the $550 engagement bonus just for having the CashPlus account.

MS Amex Platinum is $550
MS CashPlus Platinum Bonus is $550
MS CashPlus Platinum monthly fee is $45 if you don't waive the requirements.

So if you don't meet the $25k/5k requirements, your net cost is $540/year.

If you didn't plan to use the CashPlus account and meet the monthly requirements, save yourself a ton of time and just stop at creating the Access Investing account to qualify for the MS Platinum card with 1 included AU. That's the most bang for the buck. Everything past that is potential source of frustration for not a lot of gain.
hachiko
Posts: 228
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:56 pm

Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by hachiko »

Thanks, I do plan on actually using that account as my primary checking account. Basically, I like the fee free ATMs and the free wire transfers.

Fidelity offers that, but I've had problems with Fidelity not allowing certain automatic withdrawals (namely withdrawals from Square).
SpaethCo
Posts: 327
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2016 12:58 am
Location: Minneapolis

Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by SpaethCo »

hachiko wrote: Thu Apr 29, 2021 8:51 pm You're also missing lots of other benefits. For example, this year so far - $100 off Best Buy, $100 off Home Depot, $100 off Instacart (which includes Costco), $100 off Homechef, Paypal, Dell, etc.
One other note - the MS variant of the Platinum card seems to miss out on a lot of these offers.

You get the "platform-wide" offers like the Paypal credit or the Streaming/Wireless credits last year, but I never got the Best Buy or Home Depot offers on my card.

I suspect you won't see most targeted offers, nor will you ever get offered a retention bonus for this version of the Platinum card.
Freefun
Posts: 807
Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:55 pm

Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by Freefun »

I have mine with Schwab. I think they charge me a fee of $350 but with all the bonuses including PayPal and Uber this paid for itself easily. They had other specials this year including free $100 for Best Buy and Home Depot.
Remember when you wanted what you currently have?
SpaethCo
Posts: 327
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2016 12:58 am
Location: Minneapolis

Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by SpaethCo »

hachiko wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 2:17 pm Fidelity offers that, but I've had problems with Fidelity not allowing certain automatic withdrawals (namely withdrawals from Square).
Not sure if this will impact these transactions, but Morgan Stanley and Fidelity both contract ACH/check processing out to the same processor (UMB Bank).

The debit card is a little more straight forward, since it's issued and administered by Morgan Stanley Private Bank. In theory this should have fewer issues than the Fidelity debit card which is administered by BNY Mellon with cards issued by PNC Bank.
Gus Chiggins
Posts: 47
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:35 am

Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by Gus Chiggins »

hachiko wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 1:48 pm
SpaethCo wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 1:28 pm
SlowMovingInvestor wrote: Sat Mar 27, 2021 6:27 am Any way Etrade account holders can get an MS Amex Plat fee refund ?
No.

Also, previously MS clients with $1+m AUM could get the engagement bonus, and that is no longer the case. This is all about getting cash into MS Private Bank, so the $25k in average daily balance and $5k in monthly deposits are hard requirements.

In general, this offer has 2 parts:

Part 1:
  • Open an Access Investing account and contribute the $5k minimum to establish a Morgan Stanley relationship. This allows you to open the MS Amex Platinum to take advantage of the complimentary first authorized user. ($175/year savings)
Part 2:
  • Open a Platinum CashPlus account. This must be done over the phone with the general call center staff that back up the primary advisors and with an exchange of Docusign forms. Depending on if the rep you get is familiar with opening these accounts, that will determine how accurate the information is regarding opening requirements, if you get your initial debit card / check order, and other account details.
  • Get your accounts in the same ALG (Account Link Group). Normally the system automatically links accounts together by SSN, address, and advisor. With Access Investing you don't have an assigned advisor, so your accounts won't link for the purposes of waiving the CashPlus monthly fee unless you call and find an call center rep who knows how to manually link your accounts together in the same ALG. (This is different from the accounts being linked to Morgan Stanley Online, which lets you see all your accounts using a common user/password)
  • Meet the $25k average daily balance and $5k in monthly deposit requirements.
So as was pointed out earlier in the thread, this isn't a free Amex. This waives $45/mo in account fees for $25k static and $5k in recurring deposits, but you only come out ahead (or behind) by the delta of anything else you could do with that cash.

If you value the features of the CashPlus account (Debit Mastercard with no FTF and all ATM fees refunded as they post, large ACH limits, credit monitoring) then this could very well be worth it. If you didn't have plans to utilize the CashPlus account, I wouldn't bother with Part 2.
Wait, is the 5k/25k a requirement to get the $550 bonus from MS? My reading is that the 5k/25k is required for the fee waiver on the cashplus account. However, the $550 bonus is paid for anyone who has an MS Amex and the cashplus platinum account. My reading is that you do not need to qualify for the cashplus fee waiver in order to receive the $550 bonus. But please let me know if I'm wrong before I go all in!
Your understanding is my understand as well. I don’t think the other poster is correct.

The $25k/$5k monthly requirements waive the monthly account fee. The $550 annual engagement bonus is IN ADDITION to the account fees being waived. Therefore, if the $25k/$5k monthly requirements are met, the Platinum CashPlus account is fee free AND you get your AmEx Platinum annual fee covered. This seems pretty clear from the Morgan Stanley website and had been written about elsewhere.

And, with $1k in AmEx Platinum spend, which you’d probably use for flights anyway, the annual fee reimbursement is tax free. In effect, when combined with Access Investing, you get a $550 tax free return on the $25k, assuming you’d carry the AmEx Platinum anyway. At top federal and California rates, that’s a 3.8% tax equivalent yield. Not going to find that anywhere right now.
SpaethCo
Posts: 327
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2016 12:58 am
Location: Minneapolis

Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by SpaethCo »

If you value the features of the CashPlus account it's still worth doing, but you're not coming out ahead by $550.

Just to clarify my point: It's "free" if you maintain $25k and continue to run at least $5k through the account every single month. It's sort of the same way your lounge access is "free" if you just fork over $550 a year for the card.

If you had put $25k in JMST last year, you would have returned just over $500 and most of that would be exempt from federal taxes. Jumping through all the hoops to establish the CashPlus account and meet all the requirements to waive the $45/mo fee has you coming out tens of dollars ahead of just using your JMST returns to cover the $550 annual fee.

If you took that $5k in monthly deposits and chased just a single $300 checking account bonus for just 2 months you would boosted your yield beyond what this MS package offers.

It's an okay deal. When you break down the foregone opportunity costs it's not the "great" deal it might seem. You only come out ahead by $550 - <whatever you could have otherwise earned on $25k + 12 months of $5k deposits>.
afan
Posts: 6020
Joined: Sun Jul 25, 2010 4:01 pm

Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by afan »

hachiko wrote: Thu Apr 29, 2021 8:51 pm
afan wrote: Thu Apr 29, 2021 6:15 pm Well, it may be a good deal if you like to travel AND you will use the very restricted benefits of the card. Would you purchase something at Saks? I have never done so. If I had the card, maybe I would but a $100 T-shirt because that was about it for things I could use. I would not consider it worth anything.
The Uber credit is not "the first $200 of Uber expenses". Rather it is a few dollars a month. Use it or lose it. One could easily spend much more than $200/ year on Uber and get little of it covered by the card.

Lounge access is probably worth it for those who have a lot of layovers and spend the time in lounges. If nearly all your flights are nonstop, then the lounge would be useful only while waiting for delayed flights. Nice to have, but not that valuable, unless you fly a lot of routes with long delays.

Airline incidentals rule out almost everything I would pay an airline for and I would not have to pick one airline.

5% back on travel booked through AMEX is nice, if you book through AMEX.

For many people who want a premier travel card, I still think CSR is better. You get a flat $300 back on anything broadly defined as travel. You could use it all in a month on Uber trips if you did that many. You could use it for tickets on any airline....

If you live in an AMEX world and like it there, then this is probably the least expensive way to get the Platinum card.

On the investment account, do you have to let them pick the investments? Or can you drop the money in a CD or T-bond and call it a day?
Disagree that the CSR is better. Is it possible to completely offset the annual fee? It certainly is possible, and pretty easy, with the Plat.

Saks - they have things worthwhile that are priced the same as elsewhere. Kitchen knives for instance. I've gotten several good knives at $50 cheaper than I could find elsewhere.

Uber - With Ubereats I spend way more than $40 in every month. Who is spending much more than $200/year and only getting little of it covered? Sure, you "could" take $400 of Uber in January and $0 for the rest of the year, but who does that?

Lounge access - sometimes you have to get to the airport early. Sometimes you're trying to get onto earlier flights. Lots of times flights are delayed. If you fly commercially for any significant number of flights, you're going to see benefits from the lounge access (that is assuming, of course, you have a lounge in your departing airport and you like the lounge). I would also say, I've used a lounge on arrival at least 5-6 times/year. Either waiting for pickups/meetups, showering before meetings after red-eyes, etc.

Airline incidentals - get creative ;)

5x MR on AmexTravel - generally no reason not to book through Amex now that Citi Prestige got rid of their trip delay reimbursement. So, why not? Also, 5x MR is worth, at a bare minimum 6.25% cash back.

You forgot other benefits like return protection and purchase protection. Compare Amex's processing to Chase's. They're not even close.

You're also missing lots of other benefits. For example, this year so far - $100 off Best Buy, $100 off Home Depot, $100 off Instacart (which includes Costco), $100 off Homechef, Paypal, Dell, etc.
It depends on your spending patterns.
If I had paid something for an AMEX Platinum card, I would try to find something I wanted, or could sell, that I could buy from Saks to use the credit. But I don't need any more kitchen knives, or whatever. I would not count getting for "free" something I don't want as a benefit.

Overwhelmingly my travel is for business and typically I have to use the travel service specific to the trip. I do not have the option of using whatever service I want. I also don't get to pick the hotel.

I never pay airline incidental fees. I don't buy anything from the airlines other than tickets. Pre COVID I would bring my own beverage and food on board with me.

I don't use Uber much, mainly when I travel. So I typically go for months without using it at all, then have far more than $15 during a trip. The Amex benefit would not make much of a dent in the bill.

I don't use Uber eats. Restaurants I like do not seem to participate.

Most of the other benefits are specific to merchants I don't use because they don't have anything I want.

There are those whose spending patterns fit with the benefits
They routinely use airline incidentals and most of their flights are on a single airline.
They take many business trips and can use whatever travel service they want to book flights and hotels.
They can choose whatever hotels they want.
They are often on connecting flights.
They get to airports early in attempts to get earlier flights but are often unsuccessful. So they have hours to sit around in an airport waiting for the original flight.
They fly routes that are often delayed and don't like to sit at the gate while waiting.
They are enthusiastic pleasure travelers who are happy to book through Amex and they use the airlines and hotels in the Amex programs.

For such people, the Platinum benefits may add up to enough to cover the cost, particularly if they get it at a discount.

For those who cannot check off more than a few of these conditions, it is much less flexible than CSR and one might struggle to use the benefits.
We don't know how to beat the market on a risk-adjusted basis, and we don't know anyone that does know either | --Swedroe | We assume that markets are efficient, that prices are right | --Fama
tj
Posts: 4698
Joined: Thu Dec 24, 2009 12:10 am

Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by tj »

I never pay airline incidental fees. I don't buy anything from the airlines other than tickets. Pre COVID I would bring my own beverage and food on board with me.
I bought Southwest air fares with mine. I ionyl got the card because of the Schwab sign up bonus. cancelled before the year was up. Don't have any interest in paying that fee on an ongoing basis.
Gus Chiggins
Posts: 47
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:35 am

Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by Gus Chiggins »

SpaethCo wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 7:31 pm If you value the features of the CashPlus account it's still worth doing, but you're not coming out ahead by $550.

Just to clarify my point: It's "free" if you maintain $25k and continue to run at least $5k through the account every single month. It's sort of the same way your lounge access is "free" if you just fork over $550 a year for the card.

If you had put $25k in JMST last year, you would have returned just over $500 and most of that would be exempt from federal taxes. Jumping through all the hoops to establish the CashPlus account and meet all the requirements to waive the $45/mo fee has you coming out tens of dollars ahead of just using your JMST returns to cover the $550 annual fee.

If you took that $5k in monthly deposits and chased just a single $300 checking account bonus for just 2 months you would boosted your yield beyond what this MS package offers.

It's an okay deal. When you break down the foregone opportunity costs it's not the "great" deal it might seem. You only come out ahead by $550 - <whatever you could have otherwise earned on $25k + 12 months of $5k deposits>.
You clearly don’t value the opportunity. No big deal. Personal finance is personal. But for us, and probably others, we can guarantee ourselves a risk free, tax exempt $550 return on $25,000 by simply rearranging where we hold a small portion of our fixed income portfolio. There are no opportunity costs, as our asset allocation remains completely unchanged. It’s effectively like moving 2% of our portfolio from Fidelity to Vanguard.

This is how it works.

Our taxable accounts all hold well above $25,000 in fixed income, so we simply move $25,000 in fixed income allocation from Fidelity to our Platinum CashPlus account. We’ve now guaranteed ourselves a 3.8% tax equivalent yield, something we can’t come close to beating with any other current fixed income options within our risk appetite for fixed income (e.g. CA intermediate munis in taxable). The only ongoing activity is transferring one spouse’s paychecks out to Fidelity once a month, as the paychecks are needed to meet the $5,000 monthly direct deposit requirement. But Platinum CashPlus is just a pass through, so no substantive change to our finances.

For the $5,000 Access Investing portion, we can be invested in a relatively low cost portfolio that essentially aligns to our asset allocation, and $5,000 is well below 1% of our overall portfolio so there is effectively no impact on our asset allocation. Once set up, it literally requires no effort and gives us market returns at a slightly increased but negligible cost (.35% AUM or $18 a year). Again, no substantive changes to our finances.

Finally, we carry an AmEx Platinum anyway, so, once set up, business as usual plus a free authorized user allowing both spouses free access to Delta lounges, an airline we almost exclusively fly due to where we live and where our families are located. Moreover, we already more than break even on the AmEx Platinum standard benefits (e.g. Uber Eats, airline benefit, Saks, Fine Hotels & Resorts) without changing our behavior, so the annual fee reimbursement is truly cash in our pocket.

In sum, once set up, the only ongoing change in our behavior will be transferring one spouse’s paychecks to Fidelity once a month in exchange for reducing our portfolio’s risk, increasing our portfolio’s return, and getting a free AmEx Platinum. Everything else is exactly the same as before. It’s literally as great of a deal as it seems for us, although obviously not for most. That could change if fixed income returns significantly changed, but we’d re-evaluate at that point.
Last edited by Gus Chiggins on Fri Apr 30, 2021 10:04 pm, edited 5 times in total.
Gus Chiggins
Posts: 47
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:35 am

Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by Gus Chiggins »

afan wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 8:48 pm
hachiko wrote: Thu Apr 29, 2021 8:51 pm
afan wrote: Thu Apr 29, 2021 6:15 pm Well, it may be a good deal if you like to travel AND you will use the very restricted benefits of the card. Would you purchase something at Saks? I have never done so. If I had the card, maybe I would but a $100 T-shirt because that was about it for things I could use. I would not consider it worth anything.
The Uber credit is not "the first $200 of Uber expenses". Rather it is a few dollars a month. Use it or lose it. One could easily spend much more than $200/ year on Uber and get little of it covered by the card.

Lounge access is probably worth it for those who have a lot of layovers and spend the time in lounges. If nearly all your flights are nonstop, then the lounge would be useful only while waiting for delayed flights. Nice to have, but not that valuable, unless you fly a lot of routes with long delays.

Airline incidentals rule out almost everything I would pay an airline for and I would not have to pick one airline.

5% back on travel booked through AMEX is nice, if you book through AMEX.

For many people who want a premier travel card, I still think CSR is better. You get a flat $300 back on anything broadly defined as travel. You could use it all in a month on Uber trips if you did that many. You could use it for tickets on any airline....

If you live in an AMEX world and like it there, then this is probably the least expensive way to get the Platinum card.

On the investment account, do you have to let them pick the investments? Or can you drop the money in a CD or T-bond and call it a day?
Disagree that the CSR is better. Is it possible to completely offset the annual fee? It certainly is possible, and pretty easy, with the Plat.

Saks - they have things worthwhile that are priced the same as elsewhere. Kitchen knives for instance. I've gotten several good knives at $50 cheaper than I could find elsewhere.

Uber - With Ubereats I spend way more than $40 in every month. Who is spending much more than $200/year and only getting little of it covered? Sure, you "could" take $400 of Uber in January and $0 for the rest of the year, but who does that?

Lounge access - sometimes you have to get to the airport early. Sometimes you're trying to get onto earlier flights. Lots of times flights are delayed. If you fly commercially for any significant number of flights, you're going to see benefits from the lounge access (that is assuming, of course, you have a lounge in your departing airport and you like the lounge). I would also say, I've used a lounge on arrival at least 5-6 times/year. Either waiting for pickups/meetups, showering before meetings after red-eyes, etc.

Airline incidentals - get creative ;)

5x MR on AmexTravel - generally no reason not to book through Amex now that Citi Prestige got rid of their trip delay reimbursement. So, why not? Also, 5x MR is worth, at a bare minimum 6.25% cash back.

You forgot other benefits like return protection and purchase protection. Compare Amex's processing to Chase's. They're not even close.

You're also missing lots of other benefits. For example, this year so far - $100 off Best Buy, $100 off Home Depot, $100 off Instacart (which includes Costco), $100 off Homechef, Paypal, Dell, etc.
It depends on your spending patterns.
If I had paid something for an AMEX Platinum card, I would try to find something I wanted, or could sell, that I could buy from Saks to use the credit. But I don't need any more kitchen knives, or whatever. I would not count getting for "free" something I don't want as a benefit.

Overwhelmingly my travel is for business and typically I have to use the travel service specific to the trip. I do not have the option of using whatever service I want. I also don't get to pick the hotel.

I never pay airline incidental fees. I don't buy anything from the airlines other than tickets. Pre COVID I would bring my own beverage and food on board with me.

I don't use Uber much, mainly when I travel. So I typically go for months without using it at all, then have far more than $15 during a trip. The Amex benefit would not make much of a dent in the bill.

I don't use Uber eats. Restaurants I like do not seem to participate.

Most of the other benefits are specific to merchants I don't use because they don't have anything I want.

There are those whose spending patterns fit with the benefits
They routinely use airline incidentals and most of their flights are on a single airline.
They take many business trips and can use whatever travel service they want to book flights and hotels.
They can choose whatever hotels they want.
They are often on connecting flights.
They get to airports early in attempts to get earlier flights but are often unsuccessful. So they have hours to sit around in an airport waiting for the original flight.
They fly routes that are often delayed and don't like to sit at the gate while waiting.
They are enthusiastic pleasure travelers who are happy to book through Amex and they use the airlines and hotels in the Amex programs.

For such people, the Platinum benefits may add up to enough to cover the cost, particularly if they get it at a discount.

For those who cannot check off more than a few of these conditions, it is much less flexible than CSR and one might struggle to use the benefits.
Totally agree. When it comes to CC benefits, your mileage will always vary. That’s why I always laugh when someone makes a broad generalization about a CC’s superiority. Or when people claim a CC sucks because it doesn’t fit their behaviors. Everyone has different behaviors and people should remember that when choosing or recommending a CC. The key is to find the best card for your behaviors.
hachiko
Posts: 228
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:56 pm

Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by hachiko »

afan wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 8:48 pm
hachiko wrote: Thu Apr 29, 2021 8:51 pm
afan wrote: Thu Apr 29, 2021 6:15 pm Well, it may be a good deal if you like to travel AND you will use the very restricted benefits of the card. Would you purchase something at Saks? I have never done so. If I had the card, maybe I would but a $100 T-shirt because that was about it for things I could use. I would not consider it worth anything.
The Uber credit is not "the first $200 of Uber expenses". Rather it is a few dollars a month. Use it or lose it. One could easily spend much more than $200/ year on Uber and get little of it covered by the card.

Lounge access is probably worth it for those who have a lot of layovers and spend the time in lounges. If nearly all your flights are nonstop, then the lounge would be useful only while waiting for delayed flights. Nice to have, but not that valuable, unless you fly a lot of routes with long delays.

Airline incidentals rule out almost everything I would pay an airline for and I would not have to pick one airline.

5% back on travel booked through AMEX is nice, if you book through AMEX.

For many people who want a premier travel card, I still think CSR is better. You get a flat $300 back on anything broadly defined as travel. You could use it all in a month on Uber trips if you did that many. You could use it for tickets on any airline....

If you live in an AMEX world and like it there, then this is probably the least expensive way to get the Platinum card.

On the investment account, do you have to let them pick the investments? Or can you drop the money in a CD or T-bond and call it a day?
Disagree that the CSR is better. Is it possible to completely offset the annual fee? It certainly is possible, and pretty easy, with the Plat.

Saks - they have things worthwhile that are priced the same as elsewhere. Kitchen knives for instance. I've gotten several good knives at $50 cheaper than I could find elsewhere.

Uber - With Ubereats I spend way more than $40 in every month. Who is spending much more than $200/year and only getting little of it covered? Sure, you "could" take $400 of Uber in January and $0 for the rest of the year, but who does that?

Lounge access - sometimes you have to get to the airport early. Sometimes you're trying to get onto earlier flights. Lots of times flights are delayed. If you fly commercially for any significant number of flights, you're going to see benefits from the lounge access (that is assuming, of course, you have a lounge in your departing airport and you like the lounge). I would also say, I've used a lounge on arrival at least 5-6 times/year. Either waiting for pickups/meetups, showering before meetings after red-eyes, etc.

Airline incidentals - get creative ;)

5x MR on AmexTravel - generally no reason not to book through Amex now that Citi Prestige got rid of their trip delay reimbursement. So, why not? Also, 5x MR is worth, at a bare minimum 6.25% cash back.

You forgot other benefits like return protection and purchase protection. Compare Amex's processing to Chase's. They're not even close.

You're also missing lots of other benefits. For example, this year so far - $100 off Best Buy, $100 off Home Depot, $100 off Instacart (which includes Costco), $100 off Homechef, Paypal, Dell, etc.
It depends on your spending patterns.
If I had paid something for an AMEX Platinum card, I would try to find something I wanted, or could sell, that I could buy from Saks to use the credit. But I don't need any more kitchen knives, or whatever. I would not count getting for "free" something I don't want as a benefit.

Overwhelmingly my travel is for business and typically I have to use the travel service specific to the trip. I do not have the option of using whatever service I want. I also don't get to pick the hotel.

I never pay airline incidental fees. I don't buy anything from the airlines other than tickets. Pre COVID I would bring my own beverage and food on board with me.

I don't use Uber much, mainly when I travel. So I typically go for months without using it at all, then have far more than $15 during a trip. The Amex benefit would not make much of a dent in the bill.

I don't use Uber eats. Restaurants I like do not seem to participate.

Most of the other benefits are specific to merchants I don't use because they don't have anything I want.

There are those whose spending patterns fit with the benefits
They routinely use airline incidentals and most of their flights are on a single airline.
They take many business trips and can use whatever travel service they want to book flights and hotels.
They can choose whatever hotels they want.
They are often on connecting flights.
They get to airports early in attempts to get earlier flights but are often unsuccessful. So they have hours to sit around in an airport waiting for the original flight.
They fly routes that are often delayed and don't like to sit at the gate while waiting.
They are enthusiastic pleasure travelers who are happy to book through Amex and they use the airlines and hotels in the Amex programs.

For such people, the Platinum benefits may add up to enough to cover the cost, particularly if they get it at a discount.

For those who cannot check off more than a few of these conditions, it is much less flexible than CSR and one might struggle to use the benefits.
I certainly understand your points. But in that case, what benefit is the CSR providing? Also, I still think you're not thinking creatively enough (or researching enough) on some of the Amex benefits. The airline incidentals are a textbook example - I don't pay for "incidentals" either - but that doesn't mean I don't benefit from the $200 every year (actually I think my current benefits are $700/year now after the MS Amex). Same thing with the Uber credit and timing. But I totally understand not wanting to waste time thinking about/dealing with various benefits and how to maximize the benefits for you. I just don't understand why you would want a CSR if that was the case. I guess I just don't know much about the CSR, but I'm not aware of opportunities to earn back the entire annual fee on that card.
SpaethCo
Posts: 327
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2016 12:58 am
Location: Minneapolis

Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by SpaethCo »

Gus Chiggins wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 9:15 pm Our taxable accounts all hold well above $25,000 in fixed income, so we simply move $25,000 in fixed income allocation from Fidelity to our Platinum CashPlus account. We’ve now guaranteed ourselves a 3.8% tax equivalent yield, something we can’t come close to beating with any other current fixed income options within our risk appetite for fixed income (e.g. CA intermediate munis in taxable). The only ongoing activity is transferring one spouse’s paychecks out to Fidelity once a month, as the paychecks are needed to meet the $5,000 monthly direct deposit requirement. But Platinum CashPlus is just a pass through, so no substantive change to our finances.
The only things I'd point out is this value proposition only holds in today's rate environment, and this setup forces you to treat this money almost like it's an undefined duration CD.
  1. If prevailing rates on safe investments jump up to something like 4%, logically you need to move cash out of this account. At that point you're back to paying the $45/mo ($540/year) for this setup. Under those conditions would you still find value in the CashPlus account considering you're back within $10 of just paying the $550 annual fee again?
  2. This is less like a bond fund and more like a CD, because the return starts to fade rapidly as soon as your average daily balance drops to $24,999.99 or below and you start incurring the $45/mo fee.
When I plunged into this setup last year, I saw the favorable return math like you put together in your post and I saw the typical "seems like a lot of hoops" responses as being the most common negative comment. I don't want to sound overly negative on things, but I am posting from a perspective of "these are things I really wish people had pointed out" when I first started researching this.

Again to break down the 2 parts:

Benefit: MS Amex Platinum with 1 complimentary AU, $0.01 MR cash-out rate, all the perks of the card
Cost: $5000 in Access Investing to establish the relationship. You can do this online without ever talking to anyone, completely automated setup. The only limit is that any withdrawal can't take your account below $5k. If the withdrawal would take your account below $5k, or if market conditions have resulted in your balance falling below $5k and you want to take money out, your only option is a complete account closure.

Going just this far gets you the absolute best part of engaging with MS to get a Platinum card - the free AU card is a $175 savings that no other variant of the Platinum card offers.

Then comes part 2 where you sign up for the CashPlus Platinum account:

Benefit: $550 Engagement bonus to offset the Amex annual fee
Cost: $45/mo CashPlus account fee, which can be waived by maintaining $25k and depositing $5k/mo.

Things I didn't know going in to the second part:
  • It's very clear Morgan Stanley didn't plan on Access Investing being a significant gateway to people opening up CashPlus accounts. It's a manual process, you have talk to a rep who desperately wants to transfer you to your assigned advisor to handle this activity -- but as an Access Investing client you don't have one so now they have to handle this call. If an advisor opens this account they get a commission, if the backup call center folks help out an advisor's client they can get a kickback commission, but when you as an Access Investing client call to do this they get nothing. This is why some agents will give out bad information like saying "Oh, this account requires a $50k deposit to open" or other things like that.
  • Common activities like establishing a TOD for the account again require calling in, finding someone who will take pity on you enough to help, and then more Docusign forms back and forth.
  • Getting your accounts linked to waive the $45/mo fee will require multiple calls. It's apparently a pain to set this up manually in the system, and normal MS client accounts auto-link based on common SSN, address, and advisor. You are again at the mercy of someone taking pity on you to fix a problem that is uncommon enough in the MS client space that they're most likely going to have to put you on hold so they can research the relevant knowledge articles to figure out how to do. (That is assuming you get someone who cares enough to want to take extra time to help)
Once it's all setup, things are much smoother. The CashPlus account team seems easy enough to work with for banking functions, so at least that support is less concerning than the process of getting this all setup.

There are other minor quirks like you can only get transaction notifications for the debit card, but not other checks, ACH transfers, or deposits on the account. Basically the only account alerts you can setup are balance alerts and no cash available.

I wouldn't say I regret signing up, but all things considered this really isn't the deal it seemed like either. If I ignore the time I put into sorting out the account setup I still come out financially ahead, but by a pretty slim margin. I value the Mastercard debit card more than the Fidelity VISA debit card, and the 3-bureau credit monitoring is pretty decent. For those factors alone it's still worth it for me -- but again these are slim margin gains.
Snezz1e
Posts: 68
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:48 am

Re: Thinking about parking $30k with Morgan Stanley for a free Amex Plat Card

Post by Snezz1e »

I have both AMEX Plat and CSR. Based on my spending patterns they are both worth having. One benefit CSR has over AMEX is the priority pass include complimentary food at certain airport restaurants for 2 people ($28-30 per person). They removed that benefit from AMEX's priority pass.

Received an e-mail saying advisory fee is dropping to .3% from .35% in June.

AMEX will charge for lounge guest staring Feb 1, 2023. So your partner/spouse will need their own card.
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