Advice | May 12, 2016 9:00 am

Have a Rewards Card? Want a Free Upgrade? Listen Up.

There's a science to it. You should learn that science.

With flight prices dropping as low they’ve been in nearly a decade, it’s already shaping up to be a great summer to jetset on a budget.

But is there a way to do it using only a wing, a prayer and rewards points? More importantly, is there a way to do it in first class?

The Points Guy founder Brian Kelly has some advice for hacking the U.S’s top carriers:

American Airlines
American offers unlimited complimentary coach-to-business upgrades to top-tier elite customers — including on premium transcontinental routes — that start opening up 72 hours prior to departure. The airline’s AAdvantage program also allows passengers to go from economy to business class for 15,000 miles or from business to first for 15,000 miles and $175.

Elite upgrades on JetBlue
JetBlue flights each have 16 “Mint” seats that range in price depending on the route. To secure a $599 Mint fare, you’ll need to use 45,300 miles and plunk down $5.60, while a $974 fare will run you 74,400 points and $5.60. Kelly also recommends asking about paying the difference for a Mint seat during check-in.

Elite upgrades on Delta and United
Unfortunately, Kelly says United and Delta have both cut back on many elite upgrades benefits, but does suggest using the bonus miles offered by both airlines to upgrade to a business class seat after purchasing an inexpensive spot in coach. 

Via Travel+Leisure