An opportunity for a tribe or an individual to obtain home comforts
Reward Challenges are challenges that are used at both the tribal and individual level. Sometimes paired with Immunity Challenges, winning these challenges can provide tribes, individuals, or groups of individuals with items that make life at camp easier, escapes from the game, or a prize that they can enjoy after the game is completed.
Although not compulsory, Reward Challenges have been a staple in the competitions and have sometimes been combined with Immunity Challenges.
During the tribal phase of the game, earlier Reward Challenges offer items that will improve camp life. But as the game reaches its halfway point, meals and feasts are offered. These are the most recurring tribal rewards over the years:
Flint (commonly offered as the first reward given, and is sometimes paired with the first tribal Immunity Challenge)
Fishing gear (bait, fishing spear, fishing boat; commonly offered at the second episode)
Spices (or an "herb garden"; rarely given)
Pillows and blankets (occasionally including a hammock)
Letters from home (very rare in this portion of the game)
Bath products (rarely given)
Live chickens (occasionally given)
First used in the premiere episode of Survivor: South Pacific, Hero Challenges are Reward Challenges which are used in lieu of group Reward Challenges. Castaways face-off one-on-one, in which the winner of the challenge wins reward for their tribe.
It became a main twist at the pre-merge portion of Survivor: San Juan del Sur, in which the loser would be sent to Exile Island (with someone from the winning tribe being chosen by the winner to go with them).
It was used once again as a common Reward Challenge in Survivor: Cambodia.
For post-merger rewards, the members of the merged tribe compete as individual units. There are some cases though that the merged tribe is separated into groups to compete for the reward. In most cases, if the number of players cannot be divisible into equal-numbered groups, either a single player wins the challenge (with the choice of choosing a tribemate to share his/her reward with), or divide them into groups, with one person singled out. These are the most recurring individual rewards over the seasons:
The Survivor Auction is a special Reward Challenge where the players will be given money and must outbid each other to obtain certain items (mostly food ) which sometimes is an advantage to the next Immunity Challenge or a clue to a Hidden Immunity Idol.
Some Reward Challenges have castaways' loved ones also participate on it. The reward usually in Loved Ones Challenges are spending spending a 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.