Amex Platinum Family Card Rule
Yesterday I shared some new, mostly negative, changes that rolled out from American Express on their Platinum cards. One of the worst of those changes was the new Amex Platinum family card rule. Initially I had thought that the terms had changed for all Platinum versions of the card, but that wasn't the case, but then it was. American Express made yet another change to one of the cards today. So, what does all of this mean, and does it mean we should rush to apply for some versions of the Platinum card now? Let's dig into all of this and break down the intricacies of this new family of cards rule and also try to read the tea leaves a bit.
Amex Platinum Family Card Rule Explained
The original Amex Platinum, or vanilla Platinum as many call it, came out with the following terms adjustment yesterday:
You may not be eligible to receive a welcome offer if you have or have had this Card, the Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Charles Schwab, the Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Morgan Stanley or previous versions of these Cards. You also may not be eligible to receive a welcome offer based on various factors, such as your history with credit card balance transfers, your history as an American Express Card Member, the number of credit cards that you have opened and closed and other factors. If you are not eligible for a welcome offer, we will notify you prior to processing your application so you have the option to withdraw your application.
This rule basically says that if you have had ANY version of the Amex Platinum card (original vanilla Platinum, Charles Schwab or Morgan Stanley) that you are not eligible for the original vanilla Amex Platinum. While the terms imply if you have had it at any point in your lifetime you are ineligible that isn't really the case. Amex's definition of lifetime is 5 – 7 years in reality. If it has been more than 5 – 7 years since you held ANY of these cards then you should be good to try again for the original Amex Platinum. Remember that American Express cares when you last held the card, not when you last got the welcome offer on the card like other banks do.
Charles Schwab & Morgan Stanley Card Don't Have The Same Rule
The thought is that this Amex Platinum family card rule would be extended to all versions of the Amex Platinum card, but that wasn't the case … at least not at first. Here are what we are seeing for the other versions of the Platinum card.
Morgan Stanley Platinum Card Terms:
You can earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 (the “Threshold Amount”) or more in eligible purchases on your Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Morgan Stanley within the first 6 months of Card Membership starting from the date that your account is opened ...
… If we in our sole discretion determine that you have engaged in abuse, misuse, or gaming in connection with this offer in any way or that you intend to do so (for example, if you applied for one or more cards to obtain an offer(s) that we did not intend for you; if you cancel or downgrade your account within 12 months after acquiring it; or if you cancel or return purchases you made to meet the Threshold Amount), we may not credit, we may freeze, or we may take away Membership Rewards points from your account. We may also cancel this Card account and other Card accounts you may have with us.
Nothing in there about the Amex Platinum family card rule. Actually, nothing about holding the Morgan Stanley card at all. This reads to me just like the other No Lifetime Language offers. I wonder if anyone has treated an application as such, let us know in the ToP Facebook Group if you have. This is now the loan holdout from the Amex Platinum family rule. I wouldn't be surprised if this is updated shortly though.
Charles Schwab Platinum Card Terms
You may not be eligible to receive a welcome offer if you have or have had this Card, the Platinum Card®, the Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Morgan Stanley or previous versions of these Cards. You also may not be eligible to receive a welcome offer based on various factors, such as your history with credit card balance transfers, your history as an American Express Card Member, the number of credit cards that you have opened and closed and other factors. If you are not eligible for a welcome offer, we will notify you prior to processing your application so you have the option to withdraw your application.
American Express updated the Charles Schwab card's terms a day after they updated the vanilla Platinum terms.
Proper Amex Platinum Application Timeline
Three different versions of the same card, all with different application terms. That is just so Amex, isn't it? With these rule changes there is now a preferred application timeline.
- Apply for the vanilla, original Amex Platinum or Charles Schwab first. Whichever has the better welcome offer at the time.
- That is because once you hold either of the other two cards you are now ineligible for these cards.
- Apply for Morgan Stanley next
- Since the card doesn't (yet at least) have terms negating the welcome offer this would be your chance to double dip.
I am still a little hung up on the Morgan Stanley (MS) card's terms, or lack there of.
What Would I Do?
If I was starting from scratch, and assuming the offers are the same I would probably grab the vanilla Platinum first. That is because it is the easiest one to get, with no hoops required to grab it.
I would then grab the Morgan Stanley card as long as the terms haven't changed by then. Check the link above for the most up to date terms.
Then if I wanted to keep one Platinum card long term I would grab the Charles Schwab Platinum because it allows you to cash out Membership Rewards at 1.1 cents a piece, something the other cards don't offer. If you time your application in December of the year you are applying you could hopefully triple dip the airline incidental credit the first year and get yourself a mini welcome offer that way.
That is if the Morgan Stanley card isn't actually a no lifetime language type offer. If it works that way then all I would just grab another one of those when I was ready. We need to get some data points on that though.
Should You Rush To Apply In Case Things Change?
The big question is, should you rush to apply for one of the other Platinum cards before their terms potentially change? We don't really know if this is a delayed update or if Amex plans on leaving the Morgan Stanley card with unique application terms. Could it be that Morgan Stanley said they didn't want to limit access to their members? Possibly. Could it be that there are just more hurdles for Amex to clear to change the terms of the co-branded cards? Also possible.
Let's run through a few examples:
- If you are already over Chase 5/24, aren't planning on getting back under, have had the vanilla Platinum or Charles Schwab Platinum and were planning on grabbing the Morgan Stanley version anyway, then go for it!
- If you are well under Chase 5/24, but have most of the Chase cards you want and have already had the vanilla or Charles Schwab Platinum, then I could see wanting to avoid the chances of the terms changing on you. It might be worth applying here too.
- But, if you are 3/24 or 4/24 etc., trying to get back under 5/24 or don't have the full array of Chase cards you want, I don't think you adjust your game plan for this.
- If you haven't had any Platinum card at all yet, then I don't think you adjust any of your plans for this.
Amex Platinum Family Card Rule: ToP Thoughts
Hopefully this deeper look into the new Amex Platinum family card rule makes a bit more sense for everyone now. I was most surprised at the terms of the Morgan Stanley Platinum card, or the lack there of I should say. That needs a little more investigating I think. Hopefully those don't update too.
While it is easy to get caught up in the hoopla, hopefully I gave a good break down on whether or not it is time to panick when thinking about the other versions of the Amex Platinum card. While we don't know for sure if the terms will be adjusted in the future on the Morgan Stanley version, we have given you some ideas on how decide best approach with the info we do have. Only time will tell how that plays out.
Overall, the Amex Platinum card changes devalued the product enough to have people reconsider it as a long term keeper. I don't think it adjusts the calculations for that first year much though. The second year and beyond was already on rocky footing for many people, and it just became even less stable.