I have great credit and occasionally take advantage of low-fee, 0% interest balance transfers offers on existing or new credit cards, always reading the fine print and paying it off without paying a penny of interest (just the fees, usually 2% for 18 months). I also play the points game and have a bunch of cards and so the stream of balance transfer offers is endless (though I've only ever had 1 active at a time).
My question is if these offers disappear (entirely, or fees or interest rates go up) in economic crises. I ask in order to know whether or not I can include these guys in worst-case-scenario financial plans, or if I should never rely on their availability. Not that my crisis plan is credit card balance transfers, but knowing that $10,000s of 2%/year credit is available whenever I might need it would change the calculus a little bit.
I'm not sure to what extent we can predict this, because this aspect of the US credit card industry presumably has been changing over time, so what happened in past downturns might not be a good indicator, but any insight is welcome!