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The Different Flavors of the Amex Platinum

Those who have been in the credit card game for at least a couple of years might have the American Express Platinum card in their sights. At a hefty $695 annual fee, over $1,500 in credits and benefits, and its lounge access, this charge card can have good value for frequent travelers with 5x Membership Rewards points earned per dollar spent on airfare booked with the airline or American Express' travel portal, and directly on prepaid hotel stays booked though the travel portal as well. Other versions of the Platinum exist and are available to you if you have accounts with either Morgan Stanley or Charles Schwab. These versions of the card are not only available in the new artist-inspired designs, but include additional benefits that the vanilla Platinum does not have.

The Vanilla Platinum

Well known and beloved by many, the vanilla Amex Platinum is seen as one of the most premium high-end travel cards available to the general public. The current welcome offer is an 80,000 Membership Rewards (MR) point bonus after $6,000 of spending within the first 6 months of your card membership. However, better offers can be found by using incognito mode or referral links, so make sure to search for the best offer out there before you apply.

Although some see the Platinum as an over-valued coupon book, if you use any of the services already, then you will be able to find good value with this card. The $1,500 in credits include a $240 digital entertainment credit that includes subscriptions like Hulu and Disney+, $200 in credits for airline incidental fees, $200 in Uber Eats credit given in $15 slices every month, and other services such as Equinox and CLEAR. Benefits include reimbursements for TSA Precheck or Global Entry and travel insurance. Last, and certainly not least, is complementary access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection, which can prove to be very useful if you are a frequent traveller.

The Charles Schwab Platinum

If you use Charles Schwab's brokerage services, then you are eligible to apply for the Amex Platinum for Schwab. This version of the Platinum card includes all the benefits of the vanilla Platinum along with some really good perks to investors with Schwab.

The welcome offer for the Schwab Platinum is 100,000 MR points after spending $6,000 in your first 6 months of card membership. This is the only offer available for this version of the Platinum. Investors can enjoy the Schwab Appreciation Bonus that will give you a $100 statement credit if your holdings with Schwab are at least $250,000, and a $200 statement credit if your holdings are at least $1,000,000. Eligibility for this bonus is determined following approval and every year thereafter. Although this bonus requires quite a large amount of investments to be held, this can help offset that $695 annual fee.

Arguably the best thing about the Schwab Platinum is the ability to redeem MR points for cash back at a 1.1 cent per point (cpp) rate, versus the usual sub-par rate of 0.6cpp for the vanilla platinum and other MR point earning cards. The only caveat is that this money must be initially deposited into an eligible Schwab brokerage account, but can always be transferred out elsewhere afterwards.

The Morgan Stanley Platinum

For those who invest with Morgan Stanley instead, the Morgan Stanley Platinum is available for you to get your hands on, featuring a free additional card for an authorized user, which usually costs an extra $175 fir an additional 3 cards and another $175 for each additional card thereafter.

Similar to its Schwab counterpart, the only welcome offer available for the Morgan Stanley Platinum is 100,000MR points after $6,000 in spending in the first 6 months of card membership. Those who invest with Morgan Stanley are also able to redeem their MR points for cash back at a 1cpp rate versus the usual 0.6cpp rate. This cash must also be deposited into an eligible Morgan Stanley brokerage account, but can always be transferred afterwards.

Which One is Right for You?

If you already hold accounts with either Charles Schwab or Morgan Stanley, than the choice is simple. Both versions of the Platinum card offered by either brokerage offer great benefits over the vanilla Platinum, and can help make Membership Rewards points more versatile with their improved cash back redemption rates. Although before you decide to apply for either one of these Platinum cards, make sure that you can make good use of its credits and benefits to offset the $695 annual fee. The Platinum card is also a charge card, meaning that its balance must be paid on time and in full before the statement close date. If you decide that the Platinum is right for you, then consider looking in to the services that Charles Schwab and Morgan Stanley can offer you, as access to their Platinum cards can really enhance your Platinum cardholder experience.


"American Express," "American Express Platinum," "Amex," and any other properties mentioned in this article are property of the American Express Company. Charles Schwab and Morgan Stanley's properties mentioned in this article are properties of their respective companies. Use of any properties, images, or infographics in this article are for educational purposes and subjective review. This article is not financial advice and investments held with either firm carry risk. Use of the American Express Platinum card is subject to the cardmember agreement and benefits and bonuses are subject to change. See American Express' website for more information and terms.


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