In this April 26, 2006 file photo, credit card signs are posted outside a New York parking garage. Using a card with benefits, can save consumers money on returns.

Elizabeth Lang was sick of heating food on the stove when the inspiration came, and it ended up saving her $300.

She realized that her year-past-warranty microwave that had died a few days before was bought with an American Express Zync card. Through it, she had an extended warranty.

Through the "embedded protection" and "extend your warranty" portion of her card, she was eligible to have an additional year of warranty on her purchase because she bought it with that card. This meant that now she had two years warranty — just the right amount for her microwave.

In her article for WiseBread, Lang said there are a few key rewards she likes to look for in her credit card. The extended warranty protection (which is what saved her with the microwave), purchase protection, which protects a stolen or broken item within 30 to 90 days of purchase and price protection, which refunds the difference in cost on an item if the price drops.

Various other cards offer warranty protection and sometimes have limits of three to five claims per year.

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Because of the simplicity of filling out the 10-minute form about the microwave details, she thought there might be a catch.

"Honestly, the process seemed too easy," Lang said in her article. "I was waiting for them to make me do something ridiculous, like prove the microwave was broken by uninstalling it and shipping it to some far away repair facility. Or that they would credit me $10 for the depreciated value of my busted microwave."

But because Lang had read the fine print, things worked out for her. She knew about the perks and could use it to save on her otherwise money-guzzling microwave.