Analysis

3 Ways to Get the Amex Platinum Card at No Cost

The Platinum Card® from American Express has lots of benefits at a hefty price tag. The annual fee is $695, making it one of the most expensive cards (see rates and fees). But there are also a few ways you could get it at no cost.

If you’re in the military on active duty, this is easy. American Express waives the annual fee on this card, as well as many of its credit cards, for active-duty military personnel.

And if you’re not in the military? Here are three more options.

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1. Get an annual engagement bonus with Morgan Stanley

If you have a Morgan Stanley brokerage account, you can get the Amex Platinum Card for Morgan Stanley. It has the same benefits, plus the opportunity to get a $695 annual engagement bonus. Terms apply.

To get that bonus, you’ll need to open Morgan Stanley’s Platinum CashPlus account. This account normally costs $55 per month ($660 per year). You can avoid that fee by meeting the following conditions:

  • At least $5,000 in monthly deposits (or a Social Security deposit of any amount)
  • An average daily cash balance of at least $25,000
  • An additional eligible Morgan Stanley brokerage account
  • Morgan Stanley Online enrollment

That’s a sizable monthly deposit and average balance requirement. But if you can meet those requirements, the engagement bonus will cover the cost of your card.

2. Receive a Schwab appreciation bonus

Morgan Stanley isn’t the only broker that’s partnered with American Express. Charles Schwab has, as well. If you have an eligible account with it, then you can get the American Express Platinum Card® for Schwab.

If you also have substantial qualifying holdings with Charles Schwab, you receive an annual appreciation bonus. Here are the bonus amounts depending on your holdings with Schwab:

  • $250,000 to $1 million: $100 in annual statement credits
  • $1 million to $10 million: $200 in annual statement credits
  • $10 million or more: $1,000 in annual statement credits
  • Terms apply.

The largest bonus amount will be out of reach for most people. But if you use Charles Schwab for your investments and retirement savings, you could end up with enough there to qualify for a $100 or $200 annual credit.

3. Use at least $695 in statement credits

It’s also worth mentioning the most straightforward option. The Platinum Card® from American Express has over $1,500 in annual statement credits. Here are some examples of what it offers:

  • $200 in Uber Cash
  • $240 digital entertainment credit
  • $200 airline fee credit
  • $155 Walmart+ credit
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus credit
  • Select enrollment required, terms apply. See Card Details in offer tile above for full details.

If you can use at least $695 of this card’s many spending credits, then that makes up for the annual fee.

Now, these spending credits aren’t all easy to use. Make sure to check them out and see if you think you’ll be able to use them before you apply for the card. If not, then it probably isn’t a good fit for you. In that case, you’re better off looking at travel credit cards with features that better fit your lifestyle.

A less expensive Amex Platinum Card

The Platinum Card® from American Express is expensive, but there are ways to get it without paying $695 per year. The Morgan Stanley and Charles Schwab versions of the card both have spending credits that can help.

Even if you have the standard version, it really shouldn’t be costing you $695 a year. It only makes sense to have this card if you can take advantage of its benefits, or at least a good portion of them. And those benefits can more than make up for the huge annual fee.

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