At times it may seem impossible to get upgraded to First or Business class as a lowly silver elite on any airline, however, I have gotten upgraded back to back recently with one small change: travel when people with higher status don’t.
The typical traveler with higher than silver status gets there because they travel for work which means they are likely to travel on Monday and return on Friday. They are more likely to take an early flight than a later one. Thus, I’m more likely to get upgraded if I travel on Tuesday/Saturday than Monday or Friday.
Although, I intuitively knew the above, I had not tried it, but once I did it worked like magic. I will look into maximizing the upgrade potential, I’m sure there is plenty of information online, but I’m also mindful that there are limits, I’m sure it’s rather unlikely to get upgraded on any transcontinental flight especially NY-SFO which happens to be my next flight.