All it takes is a quick glance at a map of the world to realize that the United States of America is just ridiculously large. There really aren’t many countries on earth where it can take 6+ hours to go from one end to another. Thankfully, virtually every U.S. airline took this into consideration, adding delightful flat beds and refined service to their longest flights. If you’d like to experience one for yourself, or do it more often- we’ve got a few strategies that have been tremendous.

The Instant Upgrade

It’s quite simple really: find a friendly phone agent, ask about upgrade space- book a flight with confirmable upgrade space and then instantly upgrade it. Unbeknownst to many, Delta allows upgrades to Delta One business class, even on premium routes such as New York to Los Angeles, starting at just 12,500 points one way- to any passenger with points. For the cheapest possible fare, it’s 30,000 points one way. If flexibility is possible, phone agents are generally very happy to look through a few dates in search of a flight with space that’s instantly upgradeable. “K” fares, which only require 12,500 miles one way are often found under $360 round trip, which can make for excellent value. Delta points are easy to create (hello, 70k card bonus) so this is lucrative.

Hidden City Ticketing

Hey if the NY Times ethicist, thinks it’s ok- we do too, even if the airlines don’t like it. Delta One is rarely, if ever priced below $1000 round trip, and more often is in the $2000 range on premium transcontinental routes. If you can use carry on only, an overnight connection and don’t mind booking one way at a time, you can save $1000s. From the west coast, searching to places like Nassau, Punta Cana and Bermuda are sure to drop the price by $100s. From the East Coast, searching to locations like Monterrey, San Jose, San Jose Del Cabo and others- all via Los Angeles or San Francisco will surely do the same. Remember, there are risks, but if you know what you’re doing, they’re largely mitigated.

Far Out, Or Up Early

If you want to book Delta One business class without any tricks, points or other maneuvers, you’ll really need to book in advance. Fares sold months in advance are virtually always by many hundreds of dollars than those sold in the near term. If you don’t have miles, certificates, hidden city ticketing or anything else and want to fly in style- this is your best. Occasionally, Delta will flash excellent upgrade deals, only in their app, so if you couldn’t quite swing Delta One at booking, you may just get your chance if you closely monitor (and download) the Delta app.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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    1. I’m sorry, bro. You’ll have to clarify as to which point you’d like me to have intercourse with myself in response to. Wishing you the very best.

      1. Two things; The fact that you replied and the message of your reply are both amazing!

        Ok, one more thing, so I search K class fares, you are telling me I can instantly call in and upgrade NYC-SFO for 12,500 each way every time?

        1. Haha thanks Phil. IN theory- yes. My phone calls generally go something like: hello, I am looking for a flight to SFO and I’d love to upgrade to business, delta one. If you don’t mind, would you mind looking to see if any flights have upgrade avail on those days? Ok great. And I know it’s usually 30k to upgrade a T fare, but if I book a K fare, or buy up to a K fare, is it still 12,500. Since you have the 24 hour cancellation very little to lose, but I always call first to try and book onto one that has avail already. If not, they can waitlist, even as a non elite.

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