The Defunct Starter Morgan Stanley Card and its Replacement

Several months ago an astute reader (MattyB) let me know that the Morgan Stanley no-annual fee American Express card, a Miles Earn and Burn Unsung Hero, had vanished and links to the application led to a garbage page.

The card was great because:

  • It had no annual fee
  • It allowed you to deposit Membership Rewards to a Morgan Stanley account at 1.0 cents per point
  • It had bonus categories for spend

I’ve tried unsuccessfully to find zombie links to the card, and I’ve asked American Express directly about the card. I was told it’s now end-of-life and that if you didn’t get it before you’re out of luck. They do have a replacement product in its place though, the Morgan Stanley Blue Cash Preferred, which carries a $95 annual fee that can turn into a -$5 annual fee with spend. The interesting attributes:

  • $300 sign-up bonus
  • Waived annual fee the first year
  • $100 statement credit after spending $15,000 in a calendar year
  • 6% back on grocery stores up to $6,500 in spend per calendar year

Notably though, this card does not allow you to cash out Membership Rewards, so it’s really just a co-brand with no direct benefits from the co-brand. If you spent exactly $15,000 in a calendar year with at least $6,500 at grocery stores, you’d get $575 back including the statement credit which makes it a 3.8% cash back card averaged over the total spend for a $95 annual fee. Worth it? I guess, but it’s not exciting.

One of the best direct cash out for Membership Rewards is now gone, but there are still other options.

Chase’s Jamie Dimon mocks the lack-luster offerings of a competitor’s credit card offerings with a “good job, kid!”

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