Morgan Stanley Amex: Do you need a Morgan Stanley account to apply?

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Morgan Stanley offers two compelling Amex cards which earn Membership Rewards points.  One is the Platinum Card which beats out Amex’s standard Platinum card by offering the first authorized user Platinum card for free.  The other is the Morgan Stanley Credit Card which offers a few compelling 2X category bonuses.  For more about each, see:

The applications for both cards state that you must have an eligible Morgan Stanley account:

Eligible Account means a Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (“Morgan Stanley”) brokerage account held in your name or in the name of a revocable trust where you are the grantor and trustee, except for the following accounts: Charitable Remainder Annuity Trusts, Charitable Remainder Unitrusts, irrevocable trusts and employer-sponsored accounts. Eligibility is subject to change.  American Express may cancel your Card Account and participation in this program, if you do not maintain an Eligible Morgan Stanley brokerage Account.

Some other cards have similar restrictions that are not enforced (one example is the Ameriprise Platinum card).

Quick Answer

Yes, you need an eligible Morgan Stanley account.

Longer Answer

While I know that people have asserted that you must have an account in order to get one of these cards, I couldn’t find proof.  I wanted to know for sure, so I tested it by applying for the Morgan Stanley Credit Card.  I do not have a Morgan Stanley account.  The application went pending and was eventually denied.  The reason?  I did not have an eligible Morgan Stanley account.

Question to readers

Does anyone know if there’s a cheap and easy way to get an eligible Morgan Stanley brokerage account?

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