I was successful in getting an upgrade to Business Class using my frequent flyer points. The confirmation was received 23 hours prior to departure, meaning I was unable to book the hire car transfers (this must be booked no sooner than 24 hours prior to departure) but fortunately I live relatively close to the airport so it was only a $25 taxi fare. Having a fully flat bed all the way to New York makes up for not getting the hire car transfer.
The higher your frequent flyer status and the earlier that you request an upgrade gives you priority over others. More information about international points upgrades can be found here.