There are many avenues for rewarding players in Dungeons and Dragons, but sometimes handing out great stacks of gold pieces or awarding a haphazard magic item that no one in the party is interested in using just doesn't feel right. Here are some ways you can grant boons to your players that are satisfying and strong.
1. A God's/King's Favour
Often words in DnD come and go, and when people don't take diligent notes or keep in mind what has and hasn't happened, it's easy to lose track of who promised what to whom. But, by giving your players a favour, be it a written contractual favour or simply a specifically worded favour that can be called in at any time, you can make them feel stronger through the force of a powerful entity behind them. You may need to be careful with granting any favour, your players will almost certainly try to take the granted favour to the extreme, but it does provide a fun avenue for both roleplay and narrative power.
2. An Inherent Ability
Parties pretty much always accomplish things as a group, but when completing a personal quest/storyline or dealing the final blow on a boss, it's nice to get something personal. Items can be lost, spell slots can be used up, but when you grant a player an ability that they can use inherently, similar to a class ability, it's something that will make them feel powerful forever. That doesn't mean it shouldn't be balanced or that you can't agree to make changes if it is unbalanced, but it adds a fun option to their kit that they didn't have before.
3. A Free Cantrip
The beauty of cantrips is manyfold. For one, cantrips are never very powerful, meaning that if you give an extra one to a caster, it's not going to shift them into being an all-powerful, impossible to contain demigod. Secondly, it's pretty reasonable to assume that even a PC that has no casting ability whatsoever could conceivably gain control over a simple cantrip, and giving a bit of magic to a non-magic user is very exciting for them. Thirdly and finally, cantrips come in a huge variety of shapes and forms, from combat to roleplay to utility, and giving a player a cantrip that fits their character just right can feel so, so good for both of you.
4. A Really Cool Physical Change
We get so focused on the mechanics of DnD that sometimes it slips past us that our characters look and present themselves in a certain way in world. Every single PC does this, from a loud and outgoing bard to a surly and quiet rogue, everyone makes choices about how they look. So granting a physical attribute or item that really takes their look to the next level can make the player feel even cooler. The additional positive side of simply changing how a character looks, is it usually has fun roleplay consequences that you and the party get to explore as you delve further into the campaign.
If your party is lacking for gold or magic items, don't substitute these suggestions for those two staples. But if your campaign has been feeling like a slog from one magical item retrieval to the next, with additional gold in between, try one of these suggestions to spice up how you reward your players. And as always, you can never go wrong by rewarding them with a set of Only Crits dice.