Fully agree with you. I'm in the Uk too and we are definately the poor relation in terms of what we get from the Marriott Visa card. i havent even got the Silver one in the UK, yet i keep being offered one and when i apply i get told i cant have one because i have the basic red one. Drives me insane! Anyway, we get far less than US residents and its just not fair.
I am responding without any actual knowledge of the situation, so take it for what it's worth. I suspect the difference in the VISA cards offered in the US and the UK has to do with different regulatory environments and what each is allowed to do in their respective countries.
Visa won't issue me with a Marriott card because I am a non UK resident. I have discussed this with both MArriott and Visa and they tell me there is nothing they can do. The crazy thing is that I have both a Visa and Mastercard with multiple account users and none of us are UK residents. Does this make sense Mr Bank Manager??!!