|Loved Ones Challenge|
|The final six of Survivor: Nicaragua with their loved ones.|
|Recurring Survivor Challenge|
|Description:||A challenge (usually a Reward Challenge) involving the castaways' loved ones|
|Appearances:||Every season (except Fiji, Samoa, Cagayan, Kaôh Rōng, and Blood vs. Water seasons)|
The Loved Ones Challenge (also known as Family Reward) refers to a Reward Challenge where the contestants compete to earn the reward of spending the day with their loved ones or having the privilege to watch or chat with their loved ones through a video tape or the internet respectively.
Once cast, each contestant is asked to state at least two loved ones they would like to see in the Loved Ones Challenge. One loved one would actually be flown on location while the other is an alternate.
The first appearance of the challenge was in Survivor: Borneo, Jeff Probst showed everyone a sneak peek of videos recorded by their family members except for Jenna because they never received a video from her family. Greg won the challenge and as a reward he saw his home video from his sister Julie and got the chance to send one back to her. In “Long Hard Days”, after winning the Reward Challenge, Sean was surprised by his dad Jim at the yacht. He brought his dad Jim back to camp to meet everyone. The latter attempted to update them on current events and the stock market, and before he left, gave each contestant a care package from their loved ones.
In Survivor: The Australian Outback, Tina's husband Dale and children Katie and Taylor, Elisabeth's family, Rodger's wife, daughter, and son-in-law, Keith's girlfriend, and Colby's mom Gay answered the questions for their Survivors. Tina's family got 4 answers correct and won more time to spend with her. Each person got one final goodbye, and Keith took the opportunity to propose to his girlfriend, who said yes. In “The Final Four”, Colby won the reward and received a Pontiac Aztek and a good night's sleep, a hot shower and meal. After the dinner, Colby's mom Gay showed up to spend the night with him. Colby brought his mom back to camp, who gave everyone a big hug and updated everyone on what was going on at home. She brought care packages from everyone's families.
In Survivor: Africa, the Moto Maji members were to be asked a series of personal questions which their family had previously been asked on videotape. If each tribe member's answer matched the answer their family gave, they would score a point. The winner would take a plane to an exclusive resort in the Masai Mara, go on safari to see the migrating wildebeest, sleep in a real bed, and enjoy fabulous food, all charged to a Visa credit card. Demonstrating a great familiarity between himself and his wife, Lex won the challenge. As Lex was about to board the plane, he was given the opportunity to choose someone to accompany him. He chose Big Tom, and they hopped on the small plane and took off for the resort.
In Survivor: Marquesas, the loved ones would be competing in the challenge, not the Survivors. The loved ones were Neleh Dennis's mom Rebecca, Robert DeCanio's sister Diana, Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien's son Patrick, Sean Rector's friend Darryl, Vecepia Towery's husband Leander, and Paschal English's wife Beverly. After a close finish, it was Kathy's son Patrick who won the game. Jeff informed the tribe and a highly emotional Kathy that her son would be joining the tribe for an overnight stay at Soliantu Beach.
In Survivor: Thailand, after each castaway was given a brief preview of their loved ones, Jeff explained the rules and the reward for the challenge. In the end, Brian outwitted Helen and won the right to watch the entire video from his wife. In “A Big Surprise... and Another”, the castaways were surprised by their loved ones showing up on the Reward Challenge set. Jeff then explained that the loved ones would be competing in the Thai Menu challenge for the right to stay 24 hours at the camp. The final round came down to Helen's husband Jim against Jake's wife Jenny. Jim ate his way to victory as he devoured a boiled tarantula and scorpion. At the Immunity Challenge, the contestants were surprised again by their loved ones showing up to compete alongside with them. In a close finish, Ted and his brother Alan outwitted the rest and won the challenge.
In Survivor: The Amazon, Matthew won the Reward Challenge and a visit from his mom. Jeff then proposed to him to give up his reward for his tribe mates have the chance to meet with their loved ones. Matthew accepted the proposition and the others Jacaré members could briefly talk with their family members. After everyone had left for Camp, Jeff rewarded Matthew with a dinner with his mother in an Amazonian village.
In Survivor: Pearl Islands, Sandra's husband Marcus, Tijuana's high school sweetheart and still best friend William, Burton's mom Didi, Lillian's husband Loonie, Darrah's boyfriend Bradley, Christa's fiancé and soon-to-be husband Peter, and Jon's best friend Dan arrive. Before the challenge started, Jon was saddened to hear from Dan that his grandmother had "died". With Lillian's husband Loonie and Jon's friend Dan left on the challenge, Burton was the one who decided which one would jump off the plank. Feeling sorry for Jon, Burton sent Lillian's husband off the plank. When Jon won reward, he learned that him and his friend would share the Balboa camp on their own, with the other castaways banished to a separate island without their loved ones.
In Survivor: All-Stars, as in Thailand, the loved ones would compete in the Survivor Smorgasbord challenge. Amber's mother Cheryl, Shii Ann's mother Lily, Jenna L.'s brother Jai, Rob M.'s brother Mike, Tom's son Bucky Bo, and Rupert's wife Laura competed. After Jenna L.'s brother Jai broke the rules by drinking water during a tarantula dish, it was down to Rob M.'s brother Mike and Tom's son Bo. Bo quickly ate the final item, winning a night at the old Chapera camp. Tom was offered the chance to invite one other castaway and their loved one to join them. He chose Rob M. and Mike to join him.
In Survivor: Vanuatu, Jeff shocked the castaways by announcing that the winner would get to communicate with their loved one for one hour using a computer satellite hook-up. The castaways were given a one-minute taste of the contact before the challenge started. The challenge came down to Eliza and Julie. Eliza ended up winning reward. Jeff shocked Eliza by telling her that she would actually spend a whole night with her mother Susan. Jeff invited the loved ones for a tearful reunion with the castaways. At the Immunity Challenge, the castaways were surprised again when they're told that the loved ones would compete with them. It came down to Ami and her girlfriend, and Chris and his fiancée, Lorie. Ami and her girlfriend completed the puzzle before Chris and Lorie, and Chris sadly told her his fate in the game was sealed, but he actually ended up winning the game.
In Survivor: Palau, Gregg won the challenge and selected Jenn and Katie for a yacht trip where they were surprised by the visit of their loved ones (Gregg's best friend also named Greg, Jenn's sister Kim, and Katie's brother-in-law Stan; Katie's sister was unable to attend due to having recently given birth).
In Survivor: Guatemala, the castaways were given the right to buy an overnight at the camp with their loved ones at the Survivor Auction. Judd's wife Kristen, Cindy's twin sister Mindy, and Stephenie's boyfriend Michael were permitted to stay overnight at camp.
In Survivor: Panama, Terry won and he choose himself and his wife Trish, along with Shane and his son, Boston, to spend the night at a villa. He also chose Cirie's husband H.B. to spend the night at the camp, Aras to just get a hug from his mother, and Danielle to get a few words with her mom from where she was standing.
In Survivor: Cook Islands, at the Reward Challenge, the castaways were surprised by the arrival of their loved ones, who partnered up with them in the challenge. An injured Parvati was able to work through her injury and win. Her reward was a picnic with her dad Mike and the right to send somebody to Exile Island. Mike was allowed to select two other castaways to join in the picnic without any input from Parvati. He selected Sundra and her mom, and Adam and his dad.
In Survivor: China, the castaways' loved ones showed on the Reward Challenge set to compete with them. The team of Denise and her husband won, and selected Amanda and Todd, along with their sisters, respectively, to join them on the reward and spend the night at the camp.
In Survivor: Gabon, at the Reward Challenge, the castaways got to view a short video clip from their loved ones. Bob won the challenge and while he was watching the video from his wife Peggy, she stepped around the corner to surprise him. Bob and Peggy then walked hand in hand to the Nobag camp to meet the rest of the castaways. After introducing his wife to the tribe, Bob turned and whistled to signal the other castaways' loved ones to make an appearance. Matty proposed to his girlfriend, Jamie, while Sugar and her sister Rena spread their late father's ashes in Gabon. The loved ones departed camp before sundown.
In Survivor: Tocantins, on the last item up for bid at the Survivor Auction, Jeff presented a cell phone loaded with a video message from loved ones at home and announced that the usual auction rules would be suspended and that the castaways could pool their money in order to get one of the castaways to win. Everybody gave their remaining money to Taj so that she could win the item uncontested. At the very end of the video message, Taj's husband, Eddie George, said that he would see them back at camp. After pointing out the last line in the video, Jeff told Taj that only Eddie would be back at camp, but if Taj offered to go to Exile Island where Eddie would join her, the other castaways' loved ones would be at the campsite. She immediately accepted the offer. Back at camp, the castaways were joined by Coach's assistant coach, Debbie's husband, Erinn's father, J.T.'s younger sister, and Stephen's brother.
In Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, after emotional introductions to the castaway's loved ones, the challenge was won by the team of Jerri and her sister Jenny. After winning the challenge, Jeff told Jerri that she could pick another castaway and their loved one to go along with them. Jerri chose Parvati and her father Mike. Jerri then asked Jeff if she could take one more pair. Jeff agreed and Jerri picked Sandra and her uncle.
In Survivor: Nicaragua, at the Reward Challenge, Jeff introduced the castaway's loved ones. The team of Chase and his mother won the challenge. Chase then selected Sash and his mother, and Holly and her husband Charles to join them on a sailboat along the Nicaraguan coast with food and drinks, reneging on his promise to Fabio.
In Survivor: Redemption Island, when the castaways arrived at the Redemption Island duel, Jeff announced that the first winner of the duel would get to spend time with their loved one in person. Mike's won the challenge and when his mother arrived at the Redemption Island Arena, Jeff gave him three choices: he could take the visit from his mother, he could opt to forgo the visit with his mother and instead give Matthew and Ralph a visit from their loved ones, or he could forgo the visit with his mother and give the Ometepe Six a visit from their loved ones. All of the loved ones entered the Redemption Island Arena while Mike made his decision. Mike took inspiration from the Bible to give the most good to the most people and chose to give visits to the Ometepe Six. The Ometepe Six then headed back to camp to spend the afternoon with their loved ones.
In Survivor: South Pacific, at the Redemption Island duel, Jeff announced that there was a twist to the duel, but that he would get to it later. After Ozzy win the duel, Jeff brought out all of the castaways' loved ones. Jeff then told Ozzy he had to choose one person to spend some time with their loved ones. He picked Albert and his mother. Jeff then told Ozzy to select another and he picked Coach and his brother. Jeff then said to pick one final person and he picked Brandon and his father Shawn (Russell's brother). After the others Te Tuna members left the Arena, Jeff handed a phone to Ozzy and told the seven that they would be spending their time at Redemption Island.
In Survivor: One World, when the castaways arrived at the Reward Challenge site, Jeff brought out their loved ones for a reunion. Jeff then went over the challenge rules. Kat and her cousin Robby just barely beat out Kim and her sister Beth in the challenge. Jeff told Kat to pick one other pair to join them on the picnic and she selected Kim and Beth. Kat was then told to pick another pair and she picked Alicia and her sister Leticia. Kat explained that she picked Kim and Alicia because she wanted to spend time together as friends.
In Survivor: Philippines, the castaway's loved ones joined them on Day 31's Reward Challenge. Malcolm and his brother Miles won the challenge. Jeff told Malcolm to pick another castaway and their loved one to stay overnight at camp and he picked Lisa and her brother Justice. Michael then told Malcolm to ask Jeff to let him pick another. Jeff granted the request and Malcolm selected Michael and his son, also named Michael.
In Survivor: Caramoan, at the Reward Challenge, Brenda's dad Raymond scored the last point to take the win. Jeff called Brenda over and gave her the offer to select one other castaway and his loved one to join them and she selected Dawn and her husband. Jeff then pulled out a cell phone that had a video announcing that, not one, but two loved ones were on the island for the visit. Jeff then told Brenda that she could give up both her and Dawn's visit with their loved ones in exchange for the other four castaways to see their loved ones on the boat. Brenda called the decision a "no brainer" and gave up the reward.
In Survivor: Cambodia, the challenge appeared at the final eight Reward Challenge. Former castaways Val Collins and Dale Wentworth returned as loved ones for castaways Jeremy and Kelley respectively, and Val who's pregnant tells Jeremy they are excepting a son. The other loved ones were Tasha's cousin Christina, Spencer's girlfriend Marcella, Keith's wife, Abi-Maria's mother Vera, Joe's dad Pat, and Kimmi's father. The challenge had castaways dig four bags of puzzles pieces, all attached to a rope, out of the sand, spin around a handle to release the rope, then propel across a beam, retrieve the fifth bag and decipher a word puzzle that spelt out Nourishment. Kelley won the challenge and chose Kimmi, Abi-Maria, Joe, and Keith and their loved ones to share the reward.
Seasons Without a Loved Ones Challenge
The challenge did not make an appearance on Survivor: Fiji because at that time, a coup d'état was initiated by Fiji's military leader, Frank Bainimarama, preventing the families of the cast members from coming to Fiji to participate in the challenge.
- Survivor: Borneo, Survivor: Thailand, and Survivor: Vanuatu are the only season to have more than one challenge as the Loved Ones Challenge. Thailand is the only season to have three Loved Ones Challenges.
- Parvati Shallow is the only person to compete in this challenge three times. She has won the challenge once and has partaken in the reward twice.
- Survivor: Caramoan is the first season to feature two loved ones coming to the island instead of one.
- Survivor: Redemption Island had the most players in the game during a loved ones visit/challenge, with 10 – six in the main game and four on Redemption Island.
- Laura Boneham and Katie Collins are the first "loved ones" to compete in a future season after appearing as a loved one in an earlier season.
- There have been some instances where the contestants didn't know the challenge (or auction) was the Loved Ones Challenge. Some of those instances include Survivor: Palau, Survivor: Guatemala, and Survivor: Tocantins.
- Survivor: Gabon contestant Randy Bailey had no loved one to visit him. Luckily for production, he was eliminated the round before the Loved Ones Challenge.
- Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien's son Patrick is the first loved one to experience life at camp.
- Jenna Lewis's brother Jai is the first loved one to be disqualified from a challenge.
- Taj Johnson-George's husband, NFL player Eddie George, is the first loved one to be sent to Exile Island with his loved one castaway.
- Val Collins and Dale Wentworth are the first Survivor alumni to return as loved ones for a castaway, being the loved ones for their San Juan del Sur partners Jeremy Collins and Kelley Wentworth respectively.